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Special Days and Aspects for April 2004

April 2004






































Welcome to April! Click on a date in the calendar to see the current aspects and events for that day.

April 1, 2004

April Fools’ Day: On this day the Earth tilts 90 degrees on its axis and civilization is wiped out. April Fools! This day for playing tricks on friends by getting them to believe false information (at least momentarily) dates to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582. New Year’s Day was moved to January 1 from its more natural occurrence near the vernal equinox. People who continued to celebrate the old form of the new year and to make new year’s visits to loved ones in late March and early April were mocked as April Fools. In the French version of the day, the fool is a fish, the poisson d’avril, and the prankster’s goal is to pin a paper fish on the back of someone’s shirt without getting caught.

Mercury enters Taurus
Mercury in the slow-but-steady sign of Taurus indicates anything but foolishness. Practical, with an abundance of common sense and a shrewd head for business, Mercury in Taurus is careful, detail-oriented and full of artistic promise.

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April 2, 2004

Happy Birthday to

International Children’s Book Day: Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday was chosen by the International Board on Books for Young People as the day to celebrate children’s literature.

Florida State Day: Explorer Ponce de León landed in Florida around Easter time in 1513 and called the land “Easter Full of Flowers” — Pascua Florida. The Florida Legislature proclaimed April 2 a state holiday in commemoration of the landing.

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April 3, 2004

Venus enters Gemini
The earthy and steadfast expression of love that we felt with Venus in Taurus shifts today to an intellectualized emotion, based on friendship and conversation. In Gemini, Venus expresses herself verbally, through a shared love of literature and travel. Passion is replaced with playfulness, and love grows from friendships and in places where we go about our daily activities: school, work and the community.

Lazarus Saturday: The day before Palm Sunday is celebrated in Orthodox churches in commemoration of the resurrection of Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary. John’s gospel says that Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, had been dead four days when Jesus freed him from death’s clutches, bringing him back to life in a bodily resurrection that foreshadowed Christ’s own physical death and rising (on the third day) at Easter. Those with a head for numerology would note that the earthly 4 of Lazarus plus the divine trinity 3 of Jesus together equal the 7 that Biblical scholars say is a number of perfection in the Bible, hearkening back to the seven days in which God is said to have created Heaven and Earth.

Mahavir Jayanti: Birthday of Mahavir, the 24th and by far the most well known Tirthankara of the Jain religion. For more about Jainism, please see Ahimsa parmo dharma — A look at Jainism in the April 2003 issue of Metamorphosis.

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April 4, 2004

Sun at 14 degrees Aries sextile Neptune in Aquarius
A dreamy transit today, as the sun sextiles gauzy Neptune. The Arian Sun cuts through the mist and gives us an opportunity here to turn dreams into reality. Your heightened intuition more than makes up for a small lack in physical energy, and you feel as if you can read people as clearly as a book. Use this knowledge carefully, however, as appearances and realities are very different things when Neptune’s ethereal rays enter the mix.

Daylight-Saving Time begins: Crank those clocks forward by an hour if you live in a zone that likes to have its population rise in darkness in order to save an hour of daylight for evening time.

Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday): A week before Easter, Christians commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when crowds welcomed him with praise, waving palm fronds symbolic of victory. The original day occurred as people were gathering in the Holy City for Passover, and the people, who had heard of Jesus’ miracles, expected him to lead them in freeing the land from Roman domination. These days on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, Catholic and some other churches distribute specially blessed palm fronds, or small branches of other trees where palms are unavailable, to their congregations. Many people hang the blessed leaves in their homes all year to bring continued blessings.

Qing Ming Jie: Variously celebrated on April 4, 5 or 6, about two weeks after the vernal equinox, the celebration of Qing Ming Jie — Clear Bright Day — is one of a few Chinese festivals recognizing the solar calendar, rather than the culture’s more prominent lunar calendar. In ancient times it was more of a celebration of spring and new life. These days it is also known as “Tomb Sweeping Day,” a day to honor the ancestors.

Megalesia: An ancient Roman festival, Megalesia honored the Great Mother, a goddess called Cybele. The cult of Cybele was introduced to Rome by the Phrygian people about 200 B.C. Beginning about 200 A.D., Cybele’s festival became the first day of a series of annual days devoted to pleasure and recreation, days during which business must cease for fear of offending the gods. The Ludi Mengalenses lasted from April 4-10 and were followed by two other sets of spring games.

Feast of San Isidro de Seville: The Spanish saint, who was bishop of Seville, founded many schools in late sixth- and early seventh-century Spain and brought together all the scholarly knowledge of the time into a 20-volume encyclopedia, the Etymologies. Latin American countries, as well as Spain, celebrate this holiday.

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April 5, 2004

Moon Phase
Full Moon in Libra, 11:03 Universal Time.

Hanuman Jayanti: Birthday of the Indian Monkey God, Hanuman, who was the greatest devotee of Rama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and who helped rescue Rama’s wife, Sita (an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi), who had been kidnapped by the demon king Ravana. This war to rescue Sita forms a major chunk of the Ramayana.

The Lord’s Evening Meal: The major annual celebration for the Jehovah’s Witness faith, commemorating Jesus’ Last Supper, is celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, as Passover begins for the Jewish faith.

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April 6, 2004

Mars at 10 degrees Gemini square retrograde Jupiter in Virgo
The good news first. There’s every possibility that today will be the most energetic and productive day this month as Mars, the planet that governs our vital energy, is boosted in a big way by benefic Jupiter. The bad news is that along with a boost to your physical energy comes a boost to your ego energy, and the tension of the square may try to work itself out through clashes of will and dogmatic debates. Work hard under this influence and you will feel the rewards for months to come. Waste it in arguments and inflated egos and you’ll feel something much less pleasant.

Passover (Pesach) begins: The eight-day celebration of the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt is April 6-13 this year, although officially beginning at sundown on the 5th. The Egyptian Pharaoh’s refusal to allow Moses to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt prompted God to send a series of plagues to the country, according to the Biblical Book of Exodus. In the 10th plague, the Angel of Death visited every Egyptian household, but passed over the Jewish households, sparing those families from the tragedy. As the Egyptians mourned their dead, Moses roused his people to make their escape. The holiday period is celebrated with retellings of the story and with special meals, called Seders, incorporating many foods that symbolize the experiences of slavery and freedom.

Chakri Day: This national holiday in Thailand honors the establishment of the Chakri dynasty, which has been in power since 1782, although the absolute power of the monarchy ended with reforms in 1932. The holiday marks the enthronement of Chao Phraya Chakri, a general who assumed the throne after a coup. After his death he became known as Rama I.

Founding of the Mormon Church: The birthday of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is generally a formal observance by church officials, who hold their annual conference at their Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters at this time. The church’s founding prophet, Joseph Smith, established the church on April 6, 1830, in Fayette, New York.

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April 7, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Mercury turns retrograde at 1 degree Taurus
Batten down the proverbial hatches — and then double and triple check that you’ve done it right! When Mercury, the planet that rules the exchange of ideas, goes retrograde, all types of communication go haywire. Important documents are often lost in the mail, Internet services slow and even shut down, computers crash unexpectedly, and many minor and petty arguments and misunderstandings arise from people’s sudden inability to remember important facts or express themselves with any real clarity. Mercury retrogrades can be stressful times to the uninitiated, but their effects are usually short-lived, and most of the snarls can be unraveled easily once Mercury begins its forward motion again on May 2, 2004, at 21 degrees Aries.

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April 8, 2004

Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday): The day commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper as well as the origin of the sacrament of Holy Communion or the Eucharist, which uses unleavened bread and wine because the Last Supper was a Passover supper, or Seder. Jesus took the bread and wine, offered thanks and praise to God, then gave the bread and wine to his disciples, telling them it was his body and blood, which would be given up for them and all people so that sins may be forgiven. “Maundy” is said to come from the Latin for commandment, referring to Christ’s words: “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Buddha Day: There are different celebrations of Buddha’s birthday on other dates, but in the northern tradition, his birth is celebrated April 8. The Buddha was born about 563 B.C. as Prince Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal. He renounced his royal privileges at age 29 and became a wandering ascetic. Meditating under a ficus tree, now called the Bodhi Tree, he achieved enlightenment at age 35 and went on to teach ethics and work against the caste system. The core of the religion he established teaches that one must free oneself of worldly fetters to attain the enlightened state of Nirvana, freedom from sorrow and selfish desire.

Hana Matsuri: Japan’s celebration of Buddha’s birthday is known as the Flower Festival. In a custom dating to the seventh century, people use a special sweet tea, made of hydrangea leaves, to anoint a small statue of the Buddha, which stands in an open lotus flower.

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April 9, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Venus at 5 degrees Gemini square Uranus in Pisces
Uranus the rebel strives to help us movr forward with our lives by daring us to challenge the status quo. Today, as he squares the planet of love and relationships, expect some bumps in the road. Look for freedom and control to be the touchy words and remember the clichés about loving someone enough to let them go. A good relationship is strengthened, even invigorated, by these periodic tests of fortitude. A bad one may indeed crumble.

Good Friday: The day commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion is a solemn one in Christian churches. Crosses in churches are often draped in black. Some churches hold special services from noon to 3 p.m. in honor of the last three hours Jesus hung on the cross and the last seven things he said.

Linda Goodman’s Birthday: On this day, probably in 1925, author and astrologer Linda Goodman was born. She died in 1995.

Appomattox Day: The American Civil War ended on this day in 1865 in the Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. The surrendering Confederate soldiers were allowed to keep their horses and return home.

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April 10, 2004

Holy Saturday: The last day of Lent is time for the Easter vigil in many churches. Orthodox Christians in Slavic countries bring baskets of food prepared for Easter feasts to church to be blessed this night.

Chehlum: An Islamic holiday following 40 days after Ashura/Moharram, in honor of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Hussain’s martyrdom on the deserts of Karbala, in modern-day Iraq, was honored March 2. Chehlum marks the end of the 40-day mourning period.

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April 11, 2004

Sun at 22 degrees Aries trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
Personal power packs an extra punch today as the Sun trines potent Pluto. There’s a magnetic look in your eyes as Pluto grants the gift of deep and relentless insight. Much can be achieved under this transit — your powers of observation and analysis are unparalleled. Just avoid crossing the line from tactful persuasion to domineering manipulation, which will be certain to backfire.

Easter (Pascha): Western Christian and Eastern Orthodox church calendars coincide this year, making Easter the same day for both, which is not always the case. Considered the holiest day in the Christian calendar, although actually not celebrated with as much fanfare as Christmas, the holiday celebrating Christ’s resurrection includes worship services beginning at sunrise, special music, feasting and parades. On the western calendar, Easter is the Sunday following the first full Moon on or after the vernal equinox. Eastern churches figure in some additional elements, including the timing of Passover, in setting the date for Easter.

Uganda Liberation Day: The anniversary of the 1979 overthrow of dictator Idi Amin, accomplished with the help of Tanzanian fighters, is a national holiday in Uganda.

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April 12, 2004

Happy Birthday to Aries!
Happy Birthday to Starrie!

Moon Phase
Last-quarter Moon in Capricorn, 3:46 Universal Time.

Songkran: A three-day festival in Thailand, April 12-14, celebrating the traditional New Year. The public holiday includes Buddhist services and the custom of people splashing each other with water.

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April 13, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Retrograde Mercury enters Aries
Today heralds the beginning of a much more active phase of communication, marked by quick decisions and competitive energy, as the retrograding Mercury heads back for another spin in Aries. The healthy feeling of friendly rivalry that normally accompanies this influence may be exaggerated during the retrograde, provoking verbal misunderstandings and petty arguments. Listen closely to avoid misinterpretation and look before you leap!

Mars at 15 degrees Gemini trine Neptune in Aquarius
A strange combination of planetary vibes today as Mars, planet of direct action and vigorous energy, trines misty and indefinable Neptune. Often, when these two collide, Neptune soaks up the raw physicality of Mars and leaves him bewildered, insecure and more than a little hung-over. The beneficial trine removes the insecurity from the mix, and with Mars a little more in control of his dignity, good things begin to happen. An excellent time for work that involves service to others.

Baisakhi: New Year celebration for the Sikh faith.

Last Day of Passover: The eight-day celebration of the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt concludes. The holiday period is celebrated with retellings of the story and with special meals, called Seders, incorporating many foods that symbolize the experiences of slavery and freedom.

Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday: The author of the American Declaration of Independence was born this day in 1743. Founder of the University of Virginia and co-founder of the Democratic Party, Jefferson was a philosopher, linguist, engineer and farmer in addition to being an American president and political writer.

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April 14, 2004

Venus at 9 degrees Gemini square retrograde Jupiter in Virgo
There is an intoxicating sense of bounty in the air today as congenial Venus takes the hand of benevolent Jupiter. These two always offer fun times when paired, and the square aspect makes no big difference to the amiability of this transit. You’ll feel good today and wonderfully self-indulgent. Enjoy the respite from this otherwise tiring month of retrograde-induced craziness.

Ambedkar Jayanti: Birthday of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, also called the architect of the Indian Constitution. Ambedkar led the committee that wrote India’s Constitution after India achieved independence from Britain in 1947. He was a lawyer who belonged to the class of Hindus called Dalits (the untouchables in older, more intolerant times). He was a firebrand activist who fought for Dalit rights.

New Year in parts of India: Traditional New Year holidays are celebrated in many Indian states. The holidays go by various names in various regions.

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April 15, 2004

Have a great day!.

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April 16, 2004

Happy Birthday to

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April 17, 2004

The Sun at 27 degrees Aries conjunct retrograde Mercury in Aries
A short-lived moment of clarity breaks through the mental fuzziness of retrograde Mercury today. You’ll feel suddenly illuminated as the powerful rays of the Sun add focus and lucidity to your thoughts. Retrogrades are often described as having a “wearing effect” on people, intensifying their effects as they progress. If you have documents that need signing or important correspondence to address, today would be the day to attend to it, although if possible it’s still preferable to wait until May 2, when Mercury turns direct.

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April 18, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Yom HaShoah: The first Nazi concentration camp to be liberated by the Allies when the war against Germany ended in 1945 was the camp at Buchenwald, Germany, liberated on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Israel’s government established the anniversary as Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Day. The holiday, which technically begins at sundown the evening before, has a threefold meaning: it memorializes the 6 million Jews killed in the Nazi holocaust, honors the survivors, and reminds humanity what human beings are capable of doing to one another.

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April 19, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Moon Phase
New Moon in Aries, 13:21 Universal Time.

Partial Solar Eclipse at 29 degrees Aries
Visible in southern Africa and Antartica; fullest at 13:34 Universal Time. In general, this late Aries solar eclipse is likely to show up astrologically as a lack of objectivity and an inability to distinguish clear thinking from emotionally induced perceptions. Look closly at the house the eclipse is occuring in, along with any aspects it makes to your personal planets and chart angles. Those areas form the path the energy of the eclipse uses as a focus in your own life.

Sun enters Taurus
A shift from the fiery and impetuous energy of the Sun in Aries to the quiet strength of the Bull. Earthy, fixed and ruled by Venus, Taurus is concerned with resources, and managing them in a stable and practical way. Material possessions and the practical creativity of home décor and gardening are highlighted during this time.

Ceralia: Festival in ancient Rome, a favorite of the common people, in honor of Ceres, goddess of grain and harvests.

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April 20, 2004

Happy Birthday to

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April 21, 2004

Venus at 15 degrees Gemini trine Neptune in Aquarius
There’s a peaceful sense of spirituality in the air today. Venus, the planet of personal love and attraction, makes a beautiful aspect to her higher octave, the deeply empathetic Neptune. The airy quality of the trine means that declarations of love and devotion come easily at this time — and feel as good to say as they are to hear. The occasionally illusory nature of Neptune, coupled with the still retrograding Mercury troubling communication, does bring with it its own cautions. While you’re likely to feel powerfully and deliciously in love, avoid making any permanent decisions until later in May. If it’s the real thing, it’s worth waiting for.

Parilia: Ancient Roman observance honoring Pales, protector of shepherds and their flocks.

Ridvan begins: Technically beginning at sunset April 20, Ridvan is a 12-day festival of the Baha’i faith, which teaches the unity of all religions and all people. The faith’s founder, Baha’u’llah, stayed in a garden he called Ridvan, or Paradise, near Baghdad for 12 days in the spring of 1863 when he declared that he was God’s messenger for the age. Days 1, 9 and 12 of the period are holy days, when no work is to be done. Ridvan lasts until May 2.

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April 22, 2004

Earth Day: A day for promoting environmental awareness, Earth Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1970 and has become popular in other countries since then. In some cities, it has become an occasion for interfaith religious services promoting responsible treatment of the Earth.

First Day of Summer in Iceland: The Thursday between April 19 and 25 is a major holiday in Iceland, celebrating the end of winter. People exchange gifts and stage performances of drama and song.

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April 23, 2004

St. George’s Day: The patron saint of England is known in legend for converting a town to Christianity by vanquishing a threatening dragon. His day is celebrated with parades and fanfare in a number of European countries and even in Syria, where he is honored by both Christians and Muslims.

Shakespeare’s Birthday: The English town of Stratford-on-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, hosts parades and pageants on this day in honor of the great poet and playwright. Controversy exists over whether Shakespeare wrote the prolific body of work published under his name or whether a nobleman was the author, using Shakespeare’s name to protect his anonymity. But the man known as Shakespeare, who was born in Stratford-on-Avon and buried there, gets the honor on this day. His actual date of birth is unknown, but he was baptized April 26, 1564 and died April 23, 1616.

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April 24, 2004

Mars at 21 degrees Gemini opposite retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
A collision of egos on a Titanic level! The “I am” energy of Mars is made all the more forceful and assertive by the addition of the strength and will of Pluto. A hint of violence is in the air, and those who are driven strongly by their egos will find today to be an argumentative and perhaps even dangerous day. Unfortunately, the fighting is not for what’s “right,” but instead the fight is to “be right,” and that can leave one looking very foolish indeed a couple of days from now.

Armenian Martyrs’ Day: One of this century’s holocausts, a genocide based on ethnic and religious differences, was the Turkish massacre of Armenians in 1915 and 1916, in which 1 million people — half the Armenian population in Turkey — were killed. The martyrs are memorialized on this day in Armenian communities and churches around the world.

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April 25, 2004

Retrograde Mercury at 22 degrees Aries sextile Mars in Gemini
Healthy debate rules the day as communicative Mercury sextiles combative Mars. This aspect occurred once last month, on March 8. The difference today is that the energies are altered by the retrograde motion of Mercury. You’ll want to talk about your opinions and you’ll feel passionate about others hearing your views. But this energy isn’t a license for argumentative show-downs, despite the fact that you may be feeling befuddled by the effects of the retrograde. Standard retrograde protocol applies — check and double-check your facts before diving into the fray.

Retrograde Mercury at 21 degrees Aries trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
Once again, another aspect we saw in March, repeated now due to Mercury’s apparent backwards motion through the signs. This trine combines the best of Mercury’s mental sharpness with the profound insight of Pluto, the planet that rules some of life’s greatest mysteries. You have the ability today to unlock deep revelations about your own truth and the state of your inner life. Wait until next week, when Mercury turns direct, before settling on your final analysis.

Sun at 5 degrees Taurus sextile Uranus in Pisces
A bolt of lightening streaks down from on high and anything can happen. Uranus jolts us out of our normal routines and leads us into previously unexplored territory. How pleasant this surprise is has a lot to do with your own attitudes about spontaneity and impulsiveness. The tighter we grasp onto the structures and comforting constraints of our lives, the more shocking a visit from Uranus can be. Sextiles are usually easier aspects to handle — so treat this one as a test run for next month’s square, and practice gratefully receiving whatever unexpected surprise the universe has on offer for you.

Secretaries Day: Established in 1952 by the trade organization Professional Secretaries International, the occasion provides an opportunity for employers to give their secretaries and office assistants special recognition.

Anzac Day: Australia and New Zealand’s memorial day for those who have died in the wars of this century is observed with veterans’ parades and religious services. The holiday is named for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac).

River Kwai Bridge Memorial Day: The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand holds services for the nearly 7,000 American, Australian, British and Dutch prisoners of war buried there who died while being forced by their Japanese captors to build a railroad through the jungle from Bangkok to Burma during World War II.

Yom HaZikaron: Beginning at sunset last night, Yom HaZikaron is Israel’s Memorial Day, a day to remember those who lost their lives fighting for the State of Israel, including civilians killed by terror attacks.

Sinai Day: This Egyptian holiday commemorates the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 as promised in the 1978 Camp David agreement between the countries.

Italy’s Liberation Day: The anniversary of the Allies’ 1943 invasion, leading to the overthrow of Mussolini’s fascism, is a national holiday in Italy.

Liberty Day in Portugal: The Portuguese holiday celebrates a coup in 1974 that ousted a government with unpopular military policies.

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April 26, 2004

Audubon Day: The National Audubon Society, an American group dedicated to the conservation of wildlife, celebrates the birthday of John James Audubon, born in 1785. Audubon published 435 realistic paintings of birds of the New World in his book Birds of America. The Audubon Society, originally set up to study and protect birds, was founded by a George Bird Grinnell, a student of Audubon’s widow, Lucy, after the illustrator’s death.

Yom Ha’atzmaut: Israel’s Independence Day, scheduled by the Hebrew calendar, commemorates the proclamation of independence by Palestinian Jews and the establishment of a provisional government in Israel on May 14, 1948.

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April 27, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Moon Phase
First-quarter Moon in Leo, 17:32 Universal Time.

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April 28, 2004

Sun at 8 degrees Taurus sextile Saturn in Cancer
There’s been a harried, frantic energy prevailing throughout much of April. Saturn spent much of the month on the sidelines, but he arrives today just in the nick of time. There’s a strong mental component to this transit, and the stability of the Sun in Taurus shines through. It's a good thing too — all the recent communication bungles have left your workload piled sky high. Your mind feels disciplined, your actions are measured and your focus boosted. Now get to work!

Sun at 8 degrees Taurus trine retrograde Jupiter in Virgo
This transit is an excellent companion to the one described above. In addition to the focused discipline of Saturn, you have the largesse and big ideas of Jupiter on your side today. Now not only will all your work finally get caught up with, but you are likely to have a good time getting it done!

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April 29, 2004

St. Catherine of Siena Day: Feast day of the revered mystic of 14th-century Italy, who dared to advise popes and also composed a book, the Dialogue, recording her mystical exchanges as conversations with Christ.

Ninth Day of Ridvan: A holy day, on which no work is to be done, within the 12-day Baha’i festival of Ridvan.

Greenery Day: Celebrated with parades, costumes and fireworks, this Japanese holiday originally was established in honor of the birthday of Emperor Hirohito. The world’s longest ruling monarch, Hirohito led Japan during World War II. In 1946, he renounced the divinity the Japanese traditionally associated with the emperor and had a reduced role in post-war Japan’s parliamentary democracy. He died in 1989.

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April 30, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Beltane Eve: Eve of the celtic nature religion’s ancient celebration of the conjoining of the Goddess with the energy of the God in the sacred marriage that is the basis of all creation.

St. James the Great Day: Orthodox Christian recognition of the martyrdom of the Apostle James the Great in 44 A.D.

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Astrology by Terri Smallwood
Holidays compiled by Maria Barron, Anindita Basu and Sucheta Shetty
Birthday graphics by Maria Barron for Metamorphosis

For an astrological look at the month as a whole,
please see April Star Watch in this issue.