Organic Astrology
Thanksgiving Theurgical Rites

Thursday, November 22, 2012 13:23 Jupiter Day/Hour, Sun in the Second Degree of Sagittarius

‘Thanksgiving Proclamations and Roman Invocations; a brief comparison’

Autumn celebrations of annual harvests are an observable Human Tradition. Regionally a Festival might be arranged seasonally to accommodate the schedule of what is produced within the boundaries of the region. In times of Abundance different Rituals of Thanksgiving have been produced by various Cultures who continue to honor these traditions annually. In the United States the particular contemporary observance is known as Thanksgiving Day and has been promoted in modern times as a continuation of a harvest feast shared between Protestant Anglo refugees (Pilgrims) and their Indigenous Hosts, recognized today as the Wampanoag, in the area now known as Plymouth circa 1621.

As an American Cultural Tradition this history of Thanksgiving Day is largely inaccurate. It is not so much that the actual meeting and meal shared between Pilgrim Leaders and their Wampanoag hosts is untrue, it was the motivation for a Federal Day of Thanksgiving that can be shown had nothing to do with celebrating the History of relations between pre-American Colonists and the Wampanoag. The True inspiration for American Thanksgiving Day is to celebrate the gift of Abundance from a beneficent Creator and to show Thanks toward that Creator by annually honoring a specific Day through a specific ritual. A more esoteric consideration of the history of thanksgiving will need to consider the thanksgiving facts promoted as the thanksgiving history origin in the North American USA Tradition.

On October 3rd 1789 the first President of the United States, George Washington (ruled 1789-1797), proclaimed;

‘Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks –‘

Continued further;

‘and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us – and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.’

The message was clear, though the date which was to be actually observed became disputed and recalculated differently in some States of the Union and by the time of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (ruled 1861-1865), there was a public request by Sarah Josepha Hale, magazine editor for Godey’s Lady’s Book, who wrote many editorials aimed at the President as on September 28 1863 which in particular urged to have the ‘day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.’

Lincoln’s new reaction was swift, for on October 3rd 1863 He had a Proclamation drafted for his signature by Secretary of State William Seward (held office 1861-1869) which held a similar alignment to that Proclamation made by George Washington on the same day 74 years prior. In it Seward makes no mention of interactions with Indigenous People, only ‘To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come…Almighty God.’ This Proclamation was written during the American Civil War when ‘Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense’ presented a new country where ‘the axe has enlarged the boarders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.’

It was in this time when the spoils of internal war were to be gained that cultural dominance was asserted by the Union Government to promote social coherence between the States of the North in anticipation of repatriation of the Southern States, as the Battle at Gettysburg had been decided during the summer of 1863 the re-confirmation of a National Thanksgiving Day could be understood as a show of centralized government superseding individual States Rights, which could be considered a grander aim of the Union during the Civil War. Regardless, the Proclamation was again made clear;

‘It has seemed to me fit and proper that they [those gifts mentioned above that “yielded even more abundantly than before”] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and  disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.’

The last Thursday in November remained the Day of Thanksgiving unofficially and only by Presidential Proclamation until 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to change the day to the third Thursday in November for commercial and economic reasons. The change did not remain long and on December 26 1941 Congress passed a Federal Law ‘assuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the Fourth Thursday of November every year.’ This assurance allowed for the Holy-Day to fall on any date from November 22-28. When it falls on the 22nd or the 23rd it is the penultimate Thursday in November. The history or Thanksgiving is far different from the Thanksgiving history origin that is promoted in American schools. Thanksgiving facts are mostly chronological and sociological in consistency.

Chronologically the timing of these events has an astronomical and/or astrological antecedent that may be used as a marker for future observers to recognize similar conditions when coordinating events toward similar ends. This was especially important within the Mystery Schools promoted during the Hellenistic and Roman eras, borrowed extensively from the extended Egyptian Temple Tradition, which, in many manifestations, embraced systems of ritual based on Astral Sympathy and the Conditions of the Zodiac. Used for both Calendar keeping and also Religious observances which were considered equal in their determination, these rituals were done according to the Alignment of Planets and Fixed Stars, on Days ruled by the Planets, utilizing incense, colors and materials determined sympathetic to the particular Planet being invoked for the ritual. The medieval period Latin text, Picatrix, is an encyclopedic epitome of ancient literature concerning Astral Magic. Compiled and annotated in Arabic sometime around 1100 the sources included are from a mixture of Hellenistic Greek & Roman libraries, Indian Manuals and Almanacs of the Sabian community at Harran. The pre-Catholic Romans, included as inheritors of Ancient Astral Religion, had astrologically relevant celebrations determined seasonally such as Saturnalia; celebrated when the Sun entered Capricorn (December 20-22), certain parallels between the recorded Roman festival and Western Christmas has prompted the idea that the two traditions share biased chronological determinations. It can also be observed as an early tendency of the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ toward previously ‘Pagan’ Holy-Days that have been co-opted to only nominally change the façade of the rituals and timing involved to accommodate observances of the New Religion of Constantine. 

Though the calculation of the Year and Months by Season (Spring = New Year) has been undermined by the Gregorian Calendar in Western Society the astrological timing of events and the influence of cosmological symbolism upholding political and social concerns can be observed when considered from the proper paradigm. For an American People who live in a Nation supposedly founded on a healthy separation of church and state the religious intentions of State Instituted Holy-Days may require distant connections to put into context. The Masonic Tradition as it was produced and promoted in the early History of America was reflecting some of the same iconography, symbolism and rituals of the ‘Hermetic Corpus’, texts and teachings penned under the name ‘Hermes’ during the 3rd-4th centuries B.C., or later works that had been promoted for centuries under the names of history’s most famous authorities such as Plato and Aristotle. Robert Zoller’s work in ‘The Hermetic Tradition’ supports this view when commenting on Stevenson’s book, The Origins of Freemasonry, noting ‘there are clear overlaps between Freemasonic Idealism and Hermeticism…it is not far from the truth to say that 18th and 19th century Occultism (including Blavatsky’s Theosophy) cannot be thoroughly or accurately understood without a familiarity with contemporary Freemasonic politics, policies, symbolism and organizational principles.’

The American system of Governance and the Capitol Temple Metropolis of Washington D.C. are by all measurable means indebted to an Ancient Roman model. Based on the Latin epigraphs inscribed throughout many of the Arcane Symbols employed within the Republic Capitol a visitor becomes aware of the implied Astral Alignment of the city mentioned in studies of ‘Secret Architecture’ planned for Washington D.C., itself a reflection of Masonic interests. David Ovason makes a compelling case for the influence of Astrological Symbolism in American Institutions, manifested through ritual observance rooted in Ancient Traditions. His statement on the source of these particular influences is clear;

‘It is these links with the classical ethos and literature of ancient Rome which explains why, if we wish to understand the mentality of those that were involved in the founding and designing of Washington D.C., we must look into classical literature, and into its late development – the arcane literature of the medieval period.'

There are not many books of Grimoire more arcane than the Picatrix. In its Latin form the pages were inspiration for Ficino, Bruno & Agrippa as well as being cause for the arrest of Casanova in the mid 1700’s by the Venetian Inquisition. Implicitly based on Horoscopic Astrology the recipes for magic rituals and talismans included in the Picatrix require an intimate knowledge of Medieval Astrological Techniques and the Tradition of their applications. As noted by astrological historian David Pingree, these are traditions amalgamated from different cultural manifestations of astrology, cosmology and astral magic; Nabataean Chaldeans, the Egyptian Copts, the Nabataean Syrians, the Abyssinians, the Kurds, the Indians and the Persians.

While summarizing content from the Kitab al-Istamatis, a Hermetic text allegedly authored by Aristotle for his student Alexander the Great concerned with Ancient Magic and Divination, the anonymous author of the Picatrix offers a particular summary of an individual planetary ritual and invocation to the planet Jupiter (Jove to the Romans), a Planet whose Spirits and Intelligences were associated with such conditions as Freedom, Abundance, Providence, Philanthropy and Religion. The author of Picatrix states plainly;

‘This is the Roman rulers’ invocation for the spirits and it is one of their important secrets and of their holy days and prayers that they celebrate each year.’

As the planetary entities represent regions of the Earth as well, it should be no surprise that Jupiter is reported by the Ancient authorities to cover Rome and ‘all Unified Religions’, which has been applied to the ‘New Religion’ called ‘Democracy’.

As most of the ceremonies for Talismanic magic in the Picatrix can be rather occult in nature, the following prescription to claim ‘wisdom and knowledge’ can be construed as a rather peaceable ritual, and will be familiar to those citizens whose homelands claim a National Day of Thanksgiving in its amicable tone and environment of feasting in the presence of aromatic herbs and incense;

‘To ask a specific need from Jupiter you need to approach it on Thursdays when the Sun enters Sagittarius…Then you need to make a clean house, furnished with the best you can afford. You stay in that house alone and that becomes your Temple.

Then make as much as you can of sweet kind of food that is made with honey, butter, nut oil, sugar. Make some hard candies and some soft that is also made of butter, milk, sugar, saffron. Then put a big table in a corner of the house on top of another solid stable table, then put in front of you brazier made of one of the metals that is specialized with the planet. Then put on the first table musk, camphor, sandalwood, a triangle of all scents and expensive perfumes, rose of Jericho and mastic. Then arrange the items as they are and put on the other table the hard and soft deserts and you put in the middle of that a braided candle and beside that four open baskets full of bread and cold meat grilled and cooked made of lamb’s meat, chicken, hen, and all kind of beans.

Beside each basket put a full bottle of wine and a clean glass and good smelling basil between each basket. The scents on one side with the sandalwood and one the other hand with the Mastic, one the other side of the table…These are Jupiter’s Spirits and the six directions of its orbit Afraus the Wise said that the meaning of these words are Come along all Spirits United and in Harmony, smell all these beautiful smells and eat from this food and use these incenses

You repeat these words seven times; you leave the house for one hour on the sixth time and call them again for the seventh time they come to you looking and dressed in their best. Then you ask them for what you want and wish of wisdom and knowledge and they grant you the wishes and you’ll be covered with their Spiritual Power. Then you gather your friends to eat that food, drink the wine and use the pleasant incense and smoke.’  

Central to the timing of American Federal Thanksgiving Day is that observance must be held on the Fourth Thursday in the month of November. This is a spectacular selection for any observer of the Roman Rites because it is the earliest week that will ensure that ‘the Sun enters’ the boundaries of the Zodiac sign Sagittarius (Nov 22nd – Dec 21st) and the Ruler of the Day is Jupiter (Thursday).

This Holy-Day is offered to a Republic people firstly, ‘that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations’. As the First Ruler of the United States and initiator of the New Religion (Democracy), George Washington was commanded to enact a secret Roman annual Holy-Day upon the People;

Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God

This was reaffirmed by later Presidential Proclamations toward continuing the Ancient Traditions of ‘offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him’. 

Today’s Presidential Proclamations are opened with praises for fellowship shown between the Wampanoag and the early ‘Colonists’. Though the continued Tradition of Proclamation and Invocation remains a theurgical component of American Thanksgiving Day, it offers the chance for continued investigation of aligning Holy-Days with Seasonal and Celestial cycles. The history of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving facts and the Thanksgiving history origin contains inference between widely and timely celebrated Holy-Days or secular observational rites and specific chronological and cosmological alignment that is an observed facet of human activity that has followed the development of civilizations through recorded history.

Estebon Duarte AMA, MACAA
Independent researcher specializing in Western Predictive Astrology and Cultural Astronomy. Currently working on a diverse course of research including Medieval Horoscopic Techniques, NeoPlatonic Astral Magic as well as the Secular advancement of Space 2.0 and Humanity's place in the Cosmos; Sacred Geometry, NuPhysics, Asteroid Mining and such phenomena as the Overview Effect. Find Estebon Duarte on Google+
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