Archive for December, 2008

Sabbat Dates and Times for 2009

Friday, December 26th, 2008

As I mentioned in the blog below, I looked up the dates and times of the sabbats according to the sun’s position. Below are the dates and times of the sabbats for this year:

Imbolc – start of spring – 315 degrees (15 degrees Aquarius) – February 3 at 11:46 a.m. EST
Lady Day/Ostara – vernal equinox – 0 degrees (sun enters Aries) – March 20 at 7:43 a.m. EDT
Beltane – start of summer – 45 degrees (15 degrees Taurus) – May 5 at 4:46 a.m. EDT
Midsummer – summer solstice – 90 degrees (sun enters Cancer) – June 21 at 1:45 a.m. EDT
Lughnasadh – start of autumn – 135 degrees (15 degrees Leo) – August 7 at 4:57 a.m. EDT
Harvestide – autumnal equinox – 180 degrees (sun enters Libra) – 5:18 p.m. EDT
Samhain – start of winter – 225 degrees (15 degrees Scorpio) – November 7 at 1:49 a.m. EST
Yule – winter solstice – 270 degrees (sun enters Capricorn) – December 21 12:47 p.m. EST

The dates and times for the relating to the solstices and equinoxes were taken from the Astrological Pocket Planner I use. The dates and times for the four major sabbats, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain were determined using an astrology program I have. I used a precise location to determine these times. If you are located in Toronto or in the Eastern time zone, the times I found using the astrology program should be a good approximation.


Winter Solstice, Calendars, Upcoming Important Dates

Friday, December 26th, 2008

The winter solstice occurred on December 21st at 7:04 a.m. EST this year. The winter solstice can be considered to be a time of beginnings. This solstice represents the shortest day and longest night of the yearly cycle. After this date, the days gradually increase and the nights decrease in length until the vernal (spring) equinox where day and night are of equal length once again (the other equinox being the autumn equinox). According to the Astrology of I Ching (mentioned in a previous blog), the winter solstice is considered the beginning of the next yearly cycle. The winter solstice represents more specifically a point in the solar cycle. It is the time when the sun, as it appears to us in the sky, is 270 degrees from its position during the vernal equinox (during the vernal equinox the sun is considered to be at 0 degrees). In Western astrology, this point is considered to be the start of the sign Capricorn; and the winter solstice occurs when the sun enters 0 degrees Capricorn. (Note for those who have no understanding of the astronomical basis for Western astrology: the signs Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces are just the names representing the twelve 30-degree segments of the sky as seen from earth. Aries marks 0 degrees (which is pegged to the vernal equinox), Taurus – 30 degrees, Gemini – 60 degrees, Cancer – 90 degrees (the summer solstice), Leo – 120 degrees, Virgo – 150 degrees, Libra – 180 degrees (the autumn equinox), Scorpio – 210 degrees, Sagittarius – 240 degrees, Capricorn – 270 degrees (the winter solstice), Aquarius – 300 degrees, and Pisces – 330 degrees. Thus, the zodiac of twelve signs represents the 360 degree circle of the sky. This system of naming the twelve 30-degree segments is attributed to Ptolemy or Hipparchus or both.1 The names of the signs are also names of constellations in the sky, and it is generally believed these names were chosen because, long ago, it appeared that the sun was in the constellation of Aries during the vernal equinox. Presently, due to the precession of the equinoxes, the sun is in the constellation of Pisces during the vernal equinox. Regardless, the zodiac names are convenient for referencing the twelve 30-degree segments of the sky.)

The winter solstice is a significant marker in the Chinese lunisolar calendar (see “The Essence of the Chinese Calendar”). The winter solstice is the solar center point of the 11th solar month. It is always found in or close to the beginning of the 11th lunar month in that calendar to ensure that the 1st lunar month (the start of the Chinese lunar new year) falls approximately during the same time in the solar cycle (also ensuring the Chinese lunar new year does not start too late in the solar cycle).

The winter solstice is used in Robert Graves’ calendar as marking the last day of his 13th “lunar” month, Elder. The day after the winter solstice was named the “Day Apart”. The next day was the start of the 1st month, Birch. Graves’ calendar was discussed in some detail in a previous blog called “Calendars and Full Moons”, where I also mentioned two other calendars, Kondratiev’s and a Lakota calendar by Grey Wolf. Kondratiev’s calendar is not based around the winter solstice. Noticeably though, the winter solstice falls near the end of his second month, the Tide. In the Lakota calendar, the winter solstice falls in the 10th month called “Hard Freeze”.

The winter solstice has gradually become to represent a time of beginnings for me. It is the time of the year where I tend to gather my thoughts and think about the past. Then I start to think ahead and make plans for the time of increasing daylight and warmth. It seems to me to be a peaceful time, a time where I wrap myself in my own imaginary cocoon waiting to emerge when the days start to increase in length. Thus, I have been thinking about the yearly cycle, both the solar and the lunar. I have been thinking about what this time of year means to me. What else could it possibly mean?

Some meanings for this time of year can be drawn from the calendars I mentioned above. As mentioned the winter solstice falls in the 11th solar and lunar month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Although the winter solstice is one of the 24 solar segments of this calendar, it follows the Heavy Snow segment (which marks the beginning of the 11th solar month and started on December 7th this year). The next solar segment after the winter solstice is the Little Cold segment (which marks the beginning of the 12th solar month). Little Cold starts on January 5th and is followed by Severe Cold starting on January 20th.

The winter solstice was the end of the month of Elder in Graves’ calendar. The 22nd was the Day Apart. The Birch month started on December 23rd. Meanings associated with birch include birth and beginnings. Graves’ clearly considered this month to be a time of birth due to increase of daylight, which can symbolically be seen as the strengthening of the sun. As I wrote in my earlier blog, “Calendars and Full Moons”, the birch “represents beginnings and it seems to be fitting since this is the time of year where we begin new things even if it’s just thinking of them – conception of an idea is definitely something belonging to birch”.

According to Kondratiev’s calendar we are now in the Stag month, which started on December 23rd along with Graves’ Birch month. We have left the Tide month in Kondratiev’s calendar. Perhaps we could consider what transition takes place from the Tide to the Stag months. Of the Tide month, Kondratiev speaks of a journey into the dark out of which comes renewal and rebirth. Of the Stag month, Kondratiev speaks of the glimmer of light. The stag is as a “luminous presence, bringing hope”. Kondratiev writes “In the context that concerns us, he (the stag) is a most appropriate messenger for the great change that is to take place after the Winter Solstice. Although the earth remains dark and fruitless, nights are still overwhelmingly longer than days, the light has begun – imperceptibly as yet – to grow.” Thus, Kondratiev suggests that, during this month, “we contemplate light – not in association with any meaning or purpose”, but what it actually is – something that banishes the dark and shines bright and clear.

Lastly, we have the Hard Freeze month from December 11th to January 10th in the Lakota calendar. Interestingly, the month in this calendar has a simliar theme to the corresponding solar segments in the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Not surprising if you consider the geographical locations where these two calendars were developed – they have a similar climate. Of this month, Grey Wolf mentions the hazelnut, which is strong and resilient and hard to crack. Perhaps during this month, we need to be like the hazelnut – strong and not cracking under the strain of this very cold time of the year!

Upcoming calendar dates:
December 27 – new moon at 7:22 a.m. EST; start of the 12th lunar month in the Chinese calendar, known as the Ox month in Chinese astrology (the Chinese lunar months start on the new moons)
January 5 – 12th solar month in the Chinese calendar, Little Cold segment (I should note here that the Chinese calendar dates I’m giving are from an actual Chinese calendar, which is set for Chinese Standard Time – 13 hours ahead of EST. No times are given in the Chinese calendar though. To be precise to your location, if you know Western astrology, check the time at which the sun is at 15 degrees Capricorn.)
January 10 – full moon at 10:27 p.m. EST; Blue moon in the Lakota calendar (second full moon in Hard Freeze month, the previous full moon was on December 12th); Wolf moon, folk name for the full moon this month (there are other folk names, but I prefer the Wolf moon)
January 11 – Deep Snows month in the Lakota calendar
January 19 – (See the note for January 20)
January 20 – Rowan month in Graves’ calendar; Severe Cold segment in the Chinese calendar (As noted above, I’m using Chinese calendar dates. Severe Cold segment occurs when the sun enters Aquarius. As mentioned, you may use Western Astrology to find the precise time of this event for your location. I use the Astrological Pocket Planner, which indicates that the sun enters Aquarius on January 19.)
January 21 – The Flood month in Kondratiev’s calendar
January 26 – new moon at 2:55 a.m. and solar eclipse at 2:59 a.m. EST; Chinese Lunar New Year – Year of the Female Earth Ox (1st lunar month, known as the Tiger month)
February 4 – Imbolc; Chinese Solar New Year – Li Chun (Start of Spring) segment (1st solar month) in the Chinese calendar (Li Chun occurs when the sun is at 15 degrees Aquarius. Again, use Western astrology to check the precise time. You will note that I list Imbolc here as well. This was explained in my previous blog, “Happy Dog Year and Imbolc”. When I have the chance, I will check the dates and times for the major sabbats, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain for this coming year.)


1. See David Ovason’s The History of the Horoscope on page 23, “…Ptolemy had adopted the tropical zodiac – the zodiac of the twelve equal-arc signs – associated with the mathematician Hipparchus, who set the beginning of the zodiac against the vernal equinox.”)

Reading Material – Novels, Astrology, I Ching

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I finished a few more novels the past few months.

First, I read a two more Darkover novels – The Winds of Darkover and The Bloody Sun (expanded edition). I expected by the storyline that I might like these two stories better than Star of Danger, and I did. The Winds of Darkover is a classic “siege and hold people captive” scenario, but the telepathic abilities of the characters adds a nice twist. The Bloody Sun tells the story of a man desperate to find out about his past and who his father and mother were. On his return to Darkover, he gets an unexpected welcome by Darkovans and Terrans alike. Then I finished reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (I was halfway through it already), and read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I found I didn’t like The Restaurant at the End of the Universe as much as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, though it was an amusing read. I did get a good chuckle regarding where… er, when… to find the “Restaurant at the End of the Universe”. I just love “space-time mucking about” ideas. 😀 I followed those books with a short novel by Andre Norton called Star Ka’at World, which is probably written for children, but is still a fun read.

I went back to reading Nightseer by Laurell K. Hamilton. It is her first novel. As it turned out, the story was quite interesting and intriguing. The pacing of her novel is excellent – it keeps moving until the end. I decided that, overall, Hamilton isn’t a bad author. Her stories are fairly intelligent and amusing, and her characters – quite amusing. Her first Anita Blake vampire hunter novel is available in graphic format now. I decided that I would read the graphic novel first to see if I liked the character, Anita Blake, or not (since I liked the art in the graphic novel it wasn’t a waste to buy it). The Anita Blake character is every bit as amusing as the female protagonist in Nightseer. It seems likely I will read Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels at some point. Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter – Guilty Pleasures is published as two graphic novels.

I found a used copy of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a short story that I’ve been meaning to read. I had it on the computer, but it hurts my eyes to read on the computer for long sprees. I was pleased to get a used copy of Heart of Darkness and I finished reading the story in one day. It has a nice narrative style and you soon find yourself in the “Heart of Darkness”. An eerie story. The movie Apocalypse Now is based on Heart of Darkness. It might be that I should watch that movie sometime plus I’ve heard about it before.

I had been reading the following three novels in rotation since they are all fairly long – The Path of Daggers (book eight of The Wheel of Time), Runelords: the Sum of All Men, and A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones. I’ve become disenchanted with Runelords for various reasons. The characters feel stereotypical to me somehow. I’ve put the book aside for now. The writing isn’t bad in the novel, but the characters don’t seem to be realistic to me. In fact, reading Runelords just made me want to read either The Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire more because they are better stories with more interesting characters. I ended up finishing The Path of Daggers (book eight of The Wheel of Time). 😀 😀 Yay! I’m almost caught up with that series – just books nine, ten, eleven, and hopefully the final book in the series will be published in the next few years.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll just list the books that I have started reading (in some random order):

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Fall of Atlantis by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A Game of Thrones (book one of A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin
Running with the Demon (book one of The Word and the Void) by Terry Brooks
Gormenghast (the sequel to Titus Groan) by Mervyn Peake
Dawnthief (book one of Chronicles of the Raven) by James Barclay
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Always Coming Home by Ursula K. LeGuin (I really want to read her book, The Left Hand of Darkness.)
The Sum of All Men (book one of Runelords) by David Farland

I started reading War and Peace because I always wanted to read it. I decided that if I can plod my way through eight of Robert Jordan’s books, I can certainly muster my way through War and Peace. It would just be a shame to never read a book I’ve wanted to read before. With the holidays coming up, I figure it was a good time to start it. War and Peace is originally a Russian novel. It was translated into English by two people Tolstoy trusted to covey his story accurately. I have to say the writing is superb and I found it easy to get absorbed into the world of War and Peace. I should mention being literate in French helps too because some dialogue is in French. At the time War and Peace was written, most literate Russians understood French. In the story, the characters converse in Russian and French as the Russian aristocracy would have during that time period. The novel is divided up into four books plus two epilogues. Book one has three parts. I’m almost finished part one of book one. I’m finding the book easy to read because the chapters are fairly short, but overall the writing keeps you captivated. One particular event in the story is quite hilarious. A young man gets drunk one night and ties a police officer to a bear, then tosses the bear into the river for a swim. The young man then gets kicked of Petersberg and sent back to his father in Moscow. (Ah… doesn’t sound too different from young men these days, although we don’t have bears in the city to which we could tie a police officer and then set afloat. ^-^ )

Aside from novels, recently I’ve gone back to studying astrology and the I Ching. I am still making my way through William Lilly’s Christian Astrology. Part three of the book deals with interpreting the birth chart and making predictions. Thus, it is easier to read when you have your horoscope at the ready. Of course, I’ve been reading the book with mine and Nathan’s horoscope in front of me and I’ve been making notes. Thus, it will take awhile to get through this section.

I’ve been meaning to study the I Ching some more. Awhile back, I got a used copy of Richard Wilhelm’s and Cary Baynes’ translation of the I Ching. It was in really good condition. Recently, I found a used copy of Alfred Huang’s translation of the I Ching, also in good condition. I had been looking for that translation used for a while now. Now that I have both these translations I decided to do a comparative study of the translations. Huang’s understanding of the I Ching and its philosophy is superb as he learned about it back in China from a taoist master. I already read Huang’s The Numerology of the I Ching, which has answered questions Western students of the I Ching have had over the years. I also had a used copy of James Legge’s translation of the I Ching, but in comparison to Huang, Legge’s understanding of the I Ching is dismally low. Legge’s translation is too literal and he fails to understand the symbology of the I Ching. Thankfully, with the help of Carl G. Jung, Baynes’ translation of Wilhelm’s translation sheds more light on the symbology of the I Ching. Huang’s knowledge of the I Ching only adds to what we already know and brings deeper understanding and clarity to it. If you are interested in studying the I Ching, I recommend Alfred Huang and the Richard Wilhelm/Cary Baynes translations. (Note Richard Wilhelm translated the I Ching from Chinese to German. Later, Jung asked Baynes to translate Wilhelm’s work into English.)

Time for some more reading! 😉


Enneagram Test Results

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I did the enneagram test again a few weeks back. Here are the results this time:

You are most likely a type 7.

Taking wings into account, you seem to be a 7w8.

No personality test is completely accurate. Although several measures were taken to make this test as accurate as possible, there’s always a chance that you are not typed correctly by it. Therefore, when deciding which Enneagram type and wing you are, you might also want to consider the types with the highest test scores on the lists below.

(Note that your lowest scores may be omitted.)
Type 7 – 8.7
Type 8 – 8
Type 1 – 8
Type 5 – 6.3
Type 9 – 6
Type 2 – 6
Type 4 – 6
Type 6 – 3.7

Wing 7w8 – 12.7
Wing 8w7 – 12.4
Wing 1w2 – 11
Wing 8w9 – 11
Wing 1w9 – 11
Wing 7w6 – 10.6
Wing 9w8 – 10
Wing 2w1 – 10
Wing 9w1 – 10
Wing 5w4 – 9.3
Wing 4w5 – 9.2
Wing 5w6 – 8.2
Wing 6w7 – 8.1
Wing 6w5 – 6.9
Wing 2w3 – 6
Wing 4w3 – 6

Enneagram Test with Instinctual Variant results

You are most likely a type 8 (the Challenger) with 7 wing

Sexual variant

Type 8 SX
Type 1 SX
Type 3 SX
Type 7 SO
Type 2 SX
Type 4 SX
Type 5 SX
Type 6 SX
Type 9 SX


* Introduction to the Enneagram
* Type descriptions
* Wings
* Variants:
SP = Self-preservation instinct
SX = Sexual instinct
SO = Social instinct

The list shows how likely it is that you are each enneagram type.

Most people will be the type at the top of the list, however, your actual personality type might be somewhat lower in it (usually it’s in the top 3). Your instinctual variant is most likely the one indicated next to your actual type.

Huh, seems to place me as either a 7 or an 8. I feel like 7 most of the time though, so I think I’m a 7. The 8s sound like control freaks! Eek!

IQ Tests; Intelligence Quotient and Society

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I remember doing an IQ test back in grade school (I think it was grade 3 or 4). I don’t recall the results nor was I given them :(, but I was recommended for the “Gifted Program” at that time – I guess I didn’t score too badly then. (The program was actually quite boring and made me spend a day away from my regular classes so eventually I dropped the program.) Since then, I’ve been amused by the subject of the IQ test. It’s been criticized by people who claim it tests only a specific type of intelligence and therefore is not accurate. However, as long as you are measuring the results derived out of the same test that is given, it can give a general sense of level of intelligence. Out of curiosity, I did two different IQ tests online.

The first one I did at gave me:

“Your general IQ score is: 133”

A second test I did gave me a different score.

Free IQ Tests – Free IQ Tests

Hm.. wonder why the tests scored so differently??

Both tests use the same “intelligence interval” to give you a “cognitive designation”. (The table and graph below are from’s IQ test score guide.)

Intelligence Interval Cognitive Designation
40 – 54 Severely challenged (Less than 1% of test takers)
55 – 69 Challenged (2.3% of test takers)
70 – 84 Below average
85 – 114 Average (68% of test takers)
115 – 129 Above average
130 – 144 Gifted (2.3% of test takers)
145 – 159 Genius (Less than 1% of test takers)
160 – 175 Extraordinary genius

The IQ graph above is interesting. It shows the percentage of test takers falling into each category. Based on the graph, 95.4% score between 70 and 130. Only 2.23% score 130 and above. This also means that 2.37% of test takers score less than 70.

The implications from this are astounding and something I’ve thought about before. Based on the IQ graph, test takers who score 130 or above are less likely to meet people just as intelligent as themselves – it works out to 1.115 person out of 50 (or just 1 person out of 50 since we can’t divide people into portions). This can be quite frustrating for those people scoring 130 and above who wish to find intelligent peers.

Another implication based on the IQ graph is that an average intelligent person (IQ 85 to 114) is about as likely to meet someone of high intelligence (IQ 130 and above) as someone who is challenged (IQ below 70). Because an average intelligent person may not understand someone who is of high intelligence, the person of average intelligence may just well conclude that the person who is “gifted” or a “genius” is below average intelligence.

Furthermore, decisions based on the majority of the population won’t necessarily be the smartest or wisest decision. As mentioned, someone of average intelligence may not understand something as well as someone of high intelligence and, therefore, may not agree with the decision of the person (or people) of high intelligence although it may very well be the most intelligent decision! In a democratic society, this has some serious implications, not the least being the alienation of the more intelligent people in the society due to “tyranny of the majority”1. Since people of average intelligence are the majority (68.2%), someone of average intelligence will often assume they are more correct than someone of high intelligence simply because of the majority. This is, according to the IQ graph and IQ testing, an incorrect assumption to make. Many people of average intelligence will not make a group of high intelligence – that’s just not logically possible. In politics, when voting for a leader in a democratic society, the leader voted in is not necessarily the best candidate or smartest choice. Thus, a democratic society in the long term is unlikely to ever be a highly intelligent society.

1. John Stuart Mill’s essay “On Liberty” (excerpt located at

Yes, yes, Myers-Briggs test again

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The last time I did this test on HumanMetrics, I got an INFJ. This time, like most other times, I got an INTJ. My results this time are: 56% introverted, 50% intuitive, 62% thinking, and 22% judging. Based on descriptions of INTJ, I think I sound like one. This description in particular left me in a fit of giggles – INTJ: Everything has Room for Improvement (I have corners in both my bedroom and my living room for my “projects”). What type are you? Find out at HumanMetrics.