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Special Days and Aspects for July 2004

July 2004







































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

July 1, 2004

Canada Day: This national holiday celebrates Canadian political independence, dating to July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act united Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as a confederation. Ties to the British were never entirely severed, and the monarch of the United Kingdom retains a figurehead position in Canada even today.

Gion Matsuri: Celebrated throughout the entire month of July, this Japanese festival began as a way of thanking the gods for bringing an end to an epidemic that killed hundreds in Kyoto more than 1,000 years ago. The plague, which occurred in the year 869, ended after the high priest of the Gion Shrine built a special shrine of 66 spears and brought it to the emperor’s garden. The people celebrated with a grateful procession through the city of Kyoto, and the custom continues today. Many of the floats in the parades are decorated with old and valuable Oriental and European art. This is one of the three most important festivals of Japan.

Gettysburg Day: The famous battle on this day in 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, pushed back Confederate forces and created a turning point for Union victory in the American Civil War.

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July 2, 2004

Moon Phase
Full Moon in Capricorn, 11:09 Universal Time.

Guru Purnima: The full Moon of the Hindu month of Asadh brings a celebration of the ancient Gurus, in particular the sage Ved Vyas. A Guru is seen as a remover of darkness, a teacher.

San Fermin Festival begins: The famous Pamplona, Spain, “running of the bulls” is a daily part of this festival in honor of a long-ago bishop of the city. The 400-year-old tradition calls for young men to demonstrate their bravery by running ahead of the bulls on the way to the bullfighting ring. Ernest Hemingway incorporated the event into his novel The Sun Also Rises. The festival ends July 9.

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July 3, 2004

Dog Days begin: The Dog Star, Sirius, rises with the Sun during the hottest days of summer in the northern hemisphere, July 3 through August 11. The ancient Romans noted the Dog Days in their calendar, and the expression lives on as a fitting description of this sultry period of the year, even with people who wouldn’t guess it was named for a star. Sirius, in the “Big Dog” constellation Canis Majora, is the brightest star in the night sky. During the Dog Days, Sirius was seen by the ancients as adding its heat to the Sun’s. The Dog Days occur a little later now than they used to. Dogs and perhaps people are suspected of going a bit mad during this time.

St. Thomas Day: “Doubting Thomas,” the apostle who wouldn’t believe in the resurrection until he touched Jesus’ wounds himself, is honored on this day in the Roman Catholic Church. Thomas founded Christian communities in India and is the patron saint of India and Pakistan.

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July 4, 2004

Mercury enters Leo
The door opens today for some summer high jinks as Mercury the trickster enters the realm of the fun-loving Lion. Loud Leo is an excellent vehicle for talkative Mercury, and this transit is a boon for writers, actors and public speakers of all stripes. Creativity is heightened and work of this nature doesn’t feel at all like work, but instead is playful and heady.

American Independence Day: On the Fourth of July, 1776, Britain’s American colonies declared their independence. The Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, approved the final version of the Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson. John Hancock signed the document first, commenting that he wrote his name large enough for King George to read it without spectacles. Fifty-five other representatives signed after him, leading to the Revolutionary War and the birth of the United States.

Apache Maidens Rites of Passage: The Mescalero Apaches of Mescalero, New Mexico — once forbidden to congregate — were allowed by the U.S. government beginning in 1911 to gather together for Fourth of July festivities. The tribe used the occasion to restore the traditional coming-of-age festival for girls becoming young women. With ceremonies, dancing and feasting, they symbolically prepare for a rewarding adult life.

Yaqui Fiesta of Santa Isobel: The Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Mexico stay up all night as dancers perform the Coyote Dance, a ceremonial dance for the honored dead in which the performers dress and move as coyotes.

Other Native American Powwows: Many tribes hold Fourth of July powwows to gather together and celebrate their history and customs.

Tom Sawyer Day: The town of Hannibal, Missouri, celebrates author Mark Twain with fence-painting and frog-jumping contests based on Twain’s classic 1876 novel.

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July 5, 2004

Sun at 14 degrees Cancer sextile Jupiter in Virgo
If you buy only one lottery ticket this month, today is the day for it. You feel lucky, and this contagiously optimistic frame of mind may just be powerful enough to attract the good fortune you desire. Although this transit is short-lived, the feelings of goodwill and harmony generated today will be enough to keep you feeling buoyed up for some time.

Venezuela Independence Day: Venezuela was the first South American country to declare independence from Spain, on this day in 1811. Freedom was won in 1821.

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July 6, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Birthday of the Dalai Lama: Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, whose title means “Oceanic Guru,” is 69. As the leader of Tibetan Buddhists, each Dalai Lama is considered the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama in a line going back to the 14th century. His birthday, across the centuries, is always celebrated July 6. When a Dalai Lama dies, other Tibetan holy men search the country for the child who is his new incarnation. The current Dalai Lama was born in 1935 and was enthroned as ruler of Tibet in 1940. Since a failed 1959 revolt against Chinese occupation of Tibet, he has been forced to live outside his country.

17th of Tammuz: A Jewish fast day, set by the Hebrew calendar, commemorating the fall of Jerusalem prior to the destruction of the original Temple. The day marks the beginning of a three-week period of national mourning in Israel, leading up to Tisha B’Av (on July 27 the year) on which the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction is sorrowfully observed.

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July 7, 2004

Festival of Juno Caprotina: This ancient holiday was dedicated to Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage. Juno is also one of the goddess asteroids sometimes used in astrology.

Tanabata Star Festival: The stars Vega and Altair once were a princess and her peasant husband, according to a Chinese legend adopted by the Japanese. The two were forced to separate by the king, who placed them on opposite sides of the Milky Way, or River of Heaven. But on the seventh day of the seventh month, magpies form a bridge across the river, allowing them to meet. If it rains, the lovers have to wait another year. The Japanese decorate for the occasion with colorful paper streamers and origami.

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July 8, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Sun at 16 degrees Cancer conjunct Saturn
While this may not be the most memorable transit this month, and certainly not the most fun, the Sun conjunct Saturn does offer a very beneficial sort of energy. Today you will feel a strong sense of obligation to perform all sorts of routine and mundane activities: from housework to organizing your personal finances, to finally taking charge of those last pressing items on your desk at work. This need to attend to details is so strong, in fact, that ignoring it may set you up for a dose of the dreaded Saturn Blues, a lackluster feeling of depression. If this is your typical reaction to a Saturn transit, then it’s a clue that you haven’t yet learned how to buckle down and make this energy work for you.

Festival of Castor and Pollux: The constellation Gemini (the twins) is a celestial illustration of the legend of Castor and Pollux, twin gods in Greco-Roman mythology. Leda was mother of both, but Castor was the son of a mortal, Tyndareus, while Pollux was an immortal son of mighty Zeus. Following Castor’s death, Pollux sought a way to leave the earth and join his brother in the afterworld. Zeus consented, and allowed the pair to split their time between the heavens and the underworld. Eventually, they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The Romans established this festival in their honor to thank the twins for their help in battle.

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July 9, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Moon Phase
Last-quarter Moon in Aries, 7:34 Universal Time.

Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha’i observance in honor of the faith’s first prophet, Ali Mohammed, who was executed in 1850 by political and religious powers in his native Persia. Believers abstain from commerce and work.

Argentine Independence Day: On this day in 1816, Argentina declared independence from Spain.

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July 10, 2004

Mercury at 10 degrees Leo conjunct Mars
You have an abundance of energy today, as quick-talking Mercury joins with high-energy Mars in the lively sign of Leo. You’ll be full of dazzling new ideas and you’ll want to debate them with anyone who cares to listen. Enjoy the mental workout, but remember to allow some give and take in your discourses, as there’s an irritable nervousness that comes with all this mental excitement, and it may be enough to turn a friendly debate into a verbal brawl.

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July 11, 2004

Mercury at 12 degrees Leo sextile Venus in Gemini
There’s a lighthearted and friendly energy in the air today, perfect for a fun summer’s day of picnicking at the lake, throwing a backyard barbeque or taking in some local sights. It’s a good day to spend time with friends and loved ones, as you feel lively and congenial. It’s also a good day for a new romance, as even the most reticent among you will be able to express your inner feelings with ease.

St. Benedict Day: Catholic observance in honor of the father of the Benedictine Order of monks, the first order of the western monastic tradition, founded in the early sixth century.

Festa del Redentore: The Feast of the Redeemer, on the second Sunday in July, is a celebration in Venice, Italy, commemorating the end of the plague in the late 16th century. Services are held at the Church of the Redeemer on Guidecca Island, while outside, crowds party in the streets.

Nadam: The Mongolia region in China has been holding Nadam festivals at least as far back as the 13th century, when explorer Marco Polo attended. Nomadic people pitch a tent city at the fairgrounds, and hundreds compete in wrestling, archery and horse races.

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July 12, 2004

Wedding Day in Macedonia: The Eastern European village of Galicnik, Macedonia, which is isolated by snow during winter, throws a community wedding day each summer on this date. Communal wedding festivities are an ancient custom in the region and once were common practice in many towns. The men who had left their hometowns to seek their fortunes would return to be married on a day of mass nuptials. The custom continues in Galicnik, where it draws tourists and former residents to town. Similar occasions are held in some Slovenian villages later in summer.

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July 13, 2004

Mercury at 14 degrees Leo opposite retrograde Neptune in Aquarius
There’s less overt, physical energy in this Mercury transit than we felt under the transits earlier this week. Instead, the focus turns inward and triggers a series of imaginative musings. Dreams will be vivid and memorable, even prophetic. However, there are many mirages in the images you will see and feel today, and it will take quite a different sort of Mercury transit to sift the fact from the fiction.

Obon, Festival of Souls: This is a Japanese Buddhist holiday, during which the spirits of the dead are believed to make joyful visits home. Family-based rituals take place on the 13-15 of July or August, depending on the region of Japan. Japanese communities in California and Chicago also celebrate the occasion. Traditionally, bonfires are set outside homes to welcome the spirits, meals are prepared for them and people speak to them as though they were present. Communities join together for a Dance of Rejoicing, or Bon-Odori, to please the visiting souls. On the final night, bonfires are set again, to light the spirits’ way back whence they came.

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July 14, 2004

Bastille Day: The French Fête Nationale commemorates the people’s storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on July 14, 1789. The action freed political prisoners imprisoned in the fortress and launched the French Revolution. The Bastille was destroyed a year later. Bastille Day celebrations also are held in Canadian, American and Polynesian cities with large populations of French ancestry.

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July 15, 2004

St. Swithin’s Day: Like St. Médardus’ Day (June 8) in Belgium and France, St. Swithin’s Day in England has come to be a day for predicting upcoming weather. Rain on St. Swithin’s Day means 40 days more; while a dry St. Swithin’s means a dry spell for that time. Swithin was a ninth-century bishop of Winchester, England. It was his wish at his death to be buried where the rain pouring off the Winchester Cathedral would fall on his grave. After he was canonized, it was thought to be more fitting to move his remains inside the church, but a heavy rainfall that day was said to make it impossible. The storm was taken as a sign reaffirming St. Swithin’s wishes. He is the patron saint of rain.

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July 16, 2004

Venus at 14 degrees Gemini sextile Mars in Leo
This is a great day for the single Star Watchers to hook up with a new friend. There’s a great interplay of male and female energy under this transit. You’ll feel attractive, confident and full of life.

Mars at 14 degrees Leo opposite retrograde Neptune in Aquarius
Hazy and dreamlike, today is not a good time for signing documents, beginning projects or doing any sort of precise mental labor. Neptune’s oceans befuddle Mercury, and the day takes on the feeling of an extended out-of-body-experience. Go with the flow, but don’t make any judgments about the meanings of your dreams and thought spirals until at least tomorrow, when Mercury trines Pluto.

Venus at 14 degrees Gemini trine retrograde Neptune in Aquarius
This transit hearkens back to June 12, when Venus trined Neptune during her retrograde cycle. A dream you dreamt on that night, or a train of thought you pondered, could come into fruition today, especially if it harmonizes with the compassionate worldview these planets seek to offer.

Birthday of Mary Baker Eddy: Born in 1821, Mary Baker Eddy became the founder of the Christian Science faith. Her spiritual insight arose from her own healing, in middle age, from long-term disabling spinal troubles. Promoting the view that mind and spirit are real and matter is an illusion, she published Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in 1875. She founded the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston in 1879 and the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in 1881. She died in 1910.

Feast of the Madonna del Carmine: One of many days around the world devoted to the Virgin Mary, this holiday is celebrated with dancing and fireworks in Naples, Italy, where the Madonna del Carmine, or Our Lady of Carmel, is patron saint. Traditionally, it is a day to ask for blessings of healing.

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July 17, 2004

Moon Phase
New Moon in Cancer, 11:24 Universal Time.

Mercury at 20 degrees Leo trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
Beginning the most productive few days of the month, Mercury trines Pluto. Under this influence, scattered thoughts coalesce into deep musings about life, the universe and everything. Pluto transforms quirky Mercury into an esoteric powerhouse, and all the ancient mysteries never seemed so clear.

Mollyockett Day: The third Saturday in July in Bethel, Maine, is set aside for a summer festival named in honor of Mollyockett, a Pequawket Indian woman who was known for healing both native people and white settlers with natural remedies. Hannibal Hamlin, who was vice president in Abraham Lincoln’s first term, was a dying infant when Mollyockett doctored him back to health.

Kinderzeche (Children’s Party): This holiday honoring the courage and wisdom of children is observed on the Saturday before the third Monday in July in the town of Dinkelsbühl in Bavaria, Germany. The people re-enact the events of a day in 1632, when the town was threatened by Swedish forces during the Thirty Years’ War. As the town council puzzled over what to do, a gatekeeper’s daughter, named Lore, proposed a novel response and the council agreed. Lore and a small group of children went to the commander of the Swedish forces, knelt before him and asked for his mercy. The colonel was moved by the children’s action and spared the town. He advised the people to always remember the debt of thanks they owed to children.

Birthday of Luis Muñoz-Rivera: Puerto Rico observes a public holiday in honor of this journalist who advocated for Puerto Rican independence. His efforts helped win the island a home-rule charter from Spain in 1897. After the United States made Puerto Rico a territory, Muñoz-Rivera continued his efforts by publishing an American magazine focused on the issue of Puerto Rican independence, which helped persuade the U.S. Congress to grant the territory fairly extensive powers of self-rule in 1910. He lived from 1859 to 1910.

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July 18, 2004

Dog Days continue: The brightest star, the Dog Star Sirius, rises with the Sun and oversees the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, lasting from July 3 until August 11.

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July 19, 2004

Have a great day!

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July 20, 2004

Venus at 16 degees Gemini square Jupiter in Virgo
Don’t let the bad reputation of the square aspect throw you off here. Venus and Jupiter are such benefic planets that there’s little to worry about with this transit. Today you will feel good. Ironically you may feel too good, and that’s really the only worry. Don’t be tempted to spend beyond your means or indulge beyond the point of comfort. Instead, relax among friends and bask in the easy sense of goodwill you will generate and receive.

Elijah Day: A Jewish prophet of Old Testament times whose life story has a place in the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths, Elijah is honored on this day by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Elijah was said to have been fed by ravens, twice daily, while in the desert. He performed miracles, including a resurrection. He also arranged a demonstration to prove his God’s power to worshippers of the pagan god Baal. Atop Mount Carmel, the worshippers of Baal were unable to call forth divine fire to burn their offering, while Elijah’s plea was answered immediately with a spectacular fire. At his death, the prophet was said to have been taken to heaven in a chariot of fire.

Moon Day: The chariot of fire that the United States sent into the heavens in 1969 brought astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to the Moon on this date for the first Moon walk. Fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins circled the Moon in the Columbia command module, while the lunar module Eagle brought Armstrong and Aldrin to the Moon’s surface in an area known as the Sea of Tranquility.

Columbia Independence Day: After a revolt against Spain, Columbia became a republic in 1819. Originally, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama were part of the republic.

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July 21, 2004

Belgium Independence Day: Belgium won independence from the Netherlands in 1831, and King Leopold I became the small country’s first king.

Birthday of Ernest Hemingway: The American writer, who was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born on this day in 1899. Key West, Florida, where the author lived for a time, celebrates his birthday with a week-long festival and writers’ conference.

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July 22, 2004

Happy Birthday to

Sun enters Leo
Today the Sun begins its transit of Leo. Summer is in its height now, and the playful and creative Lion is able to make the most of it. It’s a great time to take in a theatrical performance (Leo rules actors and the theater), visit a castle (to pay homage to the King of the Zodiac) or hang out with kids, whose activities are also ruled by the fatherly Lion.

Fête de la Madeleine: On St. Mary Magdelene’s feast day in the Catholic calendar, France celebrates the Fête de la Madeleine. This French holiday on the anniversary of Mary Magdalene’s death includes pilgrimages up a wooded hillside in Provence to la Sainte Baume, the holy cave where, according to legend, the saint spent the last 33 years of her life. Although the story is said to be unfounded, the cave remains a shrine in her honor.

Polish Liberation Day: The Polish Committee of National Liberation was founded on this day in 1944. The event is commemorated as the first establishment of a people’s government in the land after 1,000 years of domination. The committee’s goals included freedom from Nazi occupation and the institution of democratic reforms in society and politics.

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July 23, 2004

Haile Selassie’s Birthday: Ethiopians celebrate the birthday of the man who ruled as emperor of the African nation from 1930-1974. Born Tafari Makonnen in 1892, he ruled as Haile Selassie I. The Rastafarians of Jamaica believe Ras (Prince) Tafari was the Messiah.

Egypt National Day: On this day in 1952, the monarchy was overthrown, paving the way for a new republic of Egypt. Parades and other events in Cairo mark the holiday, also known as Revolution Day.

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July 24, 2004

Hurricane Supplication Day: Prayers for safety mark the beginning of hurricane season in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mormon Pioneer Day: American Mormon leader Brigham Young declared the Salt Lake Valley “the right place” for church members to settle on this day in 1847. Young had led the pioneers west from Illinois after Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), was killed. Their settlement grew into Salt Lake City, Utah, where the modern celebration of the holiday is centered.

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July 25, 2004

Moon Phase
First-quarter Moon in Scorpio, 3:37 Universal Time.

Mars at 19 degrees Leo trine retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
This has the potential to be the most explosive aspect in a month that features otherwise fairly temperate influences. Mars and Pluto make powerful partners but carry with them the threat of power struggles, ego wars and a hint of violence. Today’s trine removes all but the faintest of these threats and instead offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of this energy. Expect to feel deeply motivated, with the physical energy to push forward an ambitious new agenda. If you watch out for stepping on people’s toes today, you’ll have the chance to prevent an explosive confrontation in the fall.

Mercury enters Virgo
Let’s get down to business! Mercury now enters one of the two signs he rules, Virgo. The playful, Leonine energy stimulating our mentality for much of July takes on a serious and highly analytical bent in fastidious Virgo. Even the most lackadaisical of us will find ourselves methodically crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s under this precise and meticulous vibration. It’s time to take all those good ideas dreamt up during Mercury’s transit of Leo and put them to work for you, as this transit favors mental work and careful planning.

Venus at 19 degrees Gemini opposite retrograde Pluto in Sagittarius
The second of today’s two strong Pluto transits takes us back to the beginning of June when Venus and Pluto first made this aspect during Venus’ retrograde. This is a strong and sometimes dangerous transit that can fuel feelings of jealousy, obsession and compulsion. The trick here is to remember that love does conquer all; despite the apparent authority of negative feelings or events, the only lasting strength is the power of love.

Reek Sunday: In Ireland’s County Mayo, thousands make a pilgrimage on the last Sunday in July to the top of a mountain known as Croagh Patrick, also called The Reek, where St. Patrick is said to have once spent the 40 days of Lent fasting.

St. James Day: One of the original 12 Apostles, St. James the Great was brother to St. John the Evangelist. The two were earning their living fishing together when Jesus invited them to follow him and learn to be fishers of men. Known as Santiago in Spanish-speaking areas, James is the patron saint of Spain and is also highly venerated in Puerto Rico and the Indian pueblos of New Mexico, including Taos. His emblem is the scallop shell. In England, traditionally home to many fishing villages, the observance of his feast day has long included a custom where children build decorative grottos of oyster shells.

Puerto Rico Constitution Day: This legal holiday on the island of Puerto Rico is celebrated in much the same manner as the Fourth of July is celebrated throughout the United States. It commemorates the day in 1952 when Puerto Rico adopted a new constitution as a commonwealth, rather than a territory of the United States.

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July 26, 2004

Happy Birthday to

St. Anne’s Day: The mother of the Virgin Mary, St. Anne is the patron saint of Canada. A shrine in Beaupré, Quebec, dedicated to the saint and dating to 1650, is said to be the site of many miraculous cures, and many make pilgrimages to the shrine on St. Anne’s feast day.

Liberia Independence Day: The first independent black republic in Africa was established in Liberia by freed slaves from the Americas, who signed a Declaration of Independence for the new country on this day in 1847. They named the capital city Monrovia, for U.S. President James Monroe.

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July 27, 2004

Venus at 21 degrees Gemini sextile Mars in Leo
A transit so good it gets to happen twice! A quirk in the orbits means that this sextile, which first appeared July 16, gets a second chance today as we close out the month. Enjoy the ease with which you are relating to others right now, and if you are feeling ambitious, try investigating that innovative financial investment you’ve been eyeing.

Tisha B’Av: The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, Tisha B’Av is a Jewish fast day in remembrance of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in both 586 B.C. and A.D. 70. It also commemorates a long list of tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the years on this Hebrew date or in the three weeks leading up to it.

Belarus Independence Day: Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared its sovereignty on this day in 1990 and issued its Declaration of Independence about a year later.

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July 28, 2004

Happy Birthday to

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July 29, 2004

St. Martha’s Day: Martha and her siblings, Mary and Lazarus, are spoken of as friends of Jesus in the Gospels. But in Provence, France, St. Martha’s Day is celebrated with a parade featuring a fierce mechanical dragon, because St. Martha is said to have defeated a dragon that was ravaging the countryside there long ago. According to the legend, she subdued the dragon with holy water, then led him to town, using her belt for a leash. The townsfolk destroyed the beast and built a church on the site.

St. Olaf’s Day: The second King Olaf of Norway, also known as Olsok, introduced Christianity to the country and is its patron saint. His feast day is celebrated at the St. Olaf Festival in Trondheim, which includes fireworks, religious services and a theatrical re-enactment of the Battle of Stiklestad, which took place on this day in 1030 and claimed the life of the king.

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July 30, 2004

Dog Days continue: The brightest star, the Dog Star Sirius, rises with the Sun and oversees the hottest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, lasting from July 3 until August 11.

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July 31, 2004

Moon Phase
Full Moon in Aquarius, 18:05 Universal Time.

Asalha Puja: The Theravada branch of Buddhism celebrates the day when Gautama Buddha gave his first public discourse, speaking with five monks with whom he had practiced asceticism in the forest. The rainy season begins now in some traditionally Buddhist countries like Thailand, signaling the annual rains retreat, for going within in meditation.

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola: Born in the Basque region of Spain in 1491, Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, the order of Catholic priests known as Jesuits. The Jesuits now form the largest religious order in the world and maintain their focus on education, which St. Ignatius believed was one of the best ways to help people. Many respected universities, colleges and high schools are run by Jesuits.

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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