Every time the planet Mercury appears to move in reverse or becomes what is known as retrograde (It really doesn’t move backward, it just looks like it does.), the internet and social media see a flurry of articles and memes proclaiming the dire pitfalls. The reality is that this astrological “weather” is not much different than navigating every day weather occurrences. If meteorologists tell us it is going to rain, we remember to grab an umbrella and maybe wear rain boots that day. If snow is forecast, we prepare accordingly—ice melt, shovels, purchasing the ubiquitous bread and milk. Those who pay attention to what is going on astrologically, and many Pagans do since moon cycles and other astrological influences play a role in their religious or magical practices.
TWH — “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” the mischievous sprite Puck says to Oberon the faerie king in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare was no fool when it came to incorporating the magical and astrological worldviews of his time into his immortal works. That’s the premise of the fascinating, exhaustive (but not exhausting) book Shakespeare and the Stars: the Hidden Astrological Keys to Understanding the World’s Greatest Playwright (Ibis Press, 547 p.) by professional astrologer and English literature teacher Priscilla Costello. Costello weaves not just astrology but extensively-researched aspects of the Elizabethan worldview, Renaissance magic, ancient history, mythology, modern psychology, and more into her examination of Shakespeare’s works. While she discusses the bard’s plays as a whole, Costello delves deep into six specific works, including three of his most “magical” plays: The Tempest (with its story of the exiled nobleman Prospero, who takes up the magical arts and frees the air spirit Ariel), Macbeth (with its “double, double, toil and trouble” witches who prophesy Macbeth’s doom), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with its tale of a love quadrangle fostered by a quarrel between Oberon and his faerie queen Titania, and heightened by the errant spell-casting antics of Puck).
TWH – The year 2017 is quickly coming to an end. Most of the December holidays are over, both the secular and religious; the leftovers have been consumed; friends and relatives are now returning to their homes. This week, we looked back at the year through the stories that made headlines here at The Wild Hunt and beyond. As the seasons shift, we pay tribute to the year’s successes, and remember the failings. Today, we look forward through divination.
TWH –It’s a given in some Pagan circles that at least a basic understanding of astrology is common knowledge. Given the incredible diversity represented within the intersecting Pagan and polytheist communities, it stands to reason that there are also community members who are almost completely unaware if not outright skeptical, of its tenets. It is perhaps because of that wide variation that fake astrology news circulates under the so-called “Pagan umbrella” as easily as elsewhere. Is there now a new astrological sign in the heavens? Did that downgrade of Pluto cast doubt on the legitimacy of astrology?
[Here is our October version of Unleash the Hounds, a monthly article fearing links to stories outside of our collective communities. If you enjoy this article and others like this, please consider donating to The Wild Hunt. We have 13 days left to meet our goal, and you make it possible for us to continue. The Wild Hunt is your community news service. Donate today.]
NORTH DAKOTA — It was announced this week that a judge “dismissed the riot charges” against journalist Amy Goodman for covering the protest efforts to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.