Sagittarius, The Centaur
Greetings everyone and welcome to the December “Holiday” bulletin – our last issue for the year 2011. Following on from our secretive sign of Scorpio, this month brings us to the not-so-subtle sign of Sagittarius, half-man and half-horse, also known as the Centaur. Where the Scorpio might not be so vocal, the Sagittarius will surely make up for it – they like the sound of their own voices! And they usually have plenty to say because they are the philosophers of the zodiac and the sign that talks to God! So what’s this month’s theme, you must be asking yourself? Well, not only is this sign connected with philosophy and religion, Sagittarius is literally the “jock” of the zodiac – so continuing on from November and health our theme this month is “Sports.” Sagittarians love to work out and are generally miserable if they don’t have some sort of sporting activity as part of their weekly routine.
The sign of Sagittarius is also known as the Archer, and is often depicted shooting his arrows up towards the heavens – well, Archery is a sport too. I took Archery at High School and it was not that easy, you have to be quite strong to hold a long bow still enough to actually shoot it. Well, we were all pretty useless, no matter how close our teacher moved the targets, so one day he came up with a brilliant plan. We arrived on the playing fields to find he had attached 2 or 3 balloons to each target. As he started to draw faces on each balloon with a Sharpie, we were then instructed to imagine that each balloon was the headmaster, or a teacher who gave us a bad grade, whatever, and it worked! We all really improved that day and burst quite a few of those balloons! Sagittarius is the sign that “sees the bigger picture” – so for those of you who might fail to see the connection (not the coincidence) between Astrology and our everyday lives – listen to this! While my assistant Chelsea and I were preparing this bulletin she told me that not one, but literally three of her friends, and her sister had all recently mentioned either an interest in or current fascination with archery, or that they had been taking archery lessons! And, one of them is a Sagittarius! Now come on people, you just can’t make this stuff up! There’s a reason as to why she/they were drawn to archery – she wasn’t taking swimming lessons, or skiing – she was a Sagittarius taking Archery classes!
Picture from http://www.jonrognerud.com
A few years ago, my friend and I were watching the TV (I can’t imagine how I persuaded him to let me watch gymnastics, but there you go!) and one of the commentators was former Olympic gymnast, Bart Conner. One of them mentioned that a particular gymnast had a birthday (the program was around this time of year), and then Bart Conner piped in saying how strange it was that several of the gymnasts all had birthdays during this time, and what a coincidence? Hate to burst your bubble Bart, but it’s no coincidence! Each sign of the zodiac relates to specific parts of the human body, and by the time we have reached our 9th sign of Sagittarius, we have reached the thighs, which Sagittarius is associated with! And gymnasts need some pretty serious thighs to do what they do, do they not? Consider all athletes, for that matter. So here are a few famous Sagittarian athletes for you, starting with tennis stars Billie Jean King, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Tracy Austin and Chris Evert (that’s a lot of strong thighs working right there!), followed by martial artist Bruce Lee (strong all over), golfer Lee Trevino, ice skaters Randy Gardener and Katarina Witt (more serious thigh action required), gymnasts Alicia Sacramone, Hollie Vise and Cathy Rigby, the 1st American woman to win a medal in World Gymnastics, and who went on to play the role of “Peter Pan” on Broadway, cricketer Ian Botham, basketball legend Larry Bird, baseball stars Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench and Ty Cobb, and football stars Dick Butkus, Terrell Owens and Warren Sapp (thighs more like tree trunks in their case!).
© Scott Bell
Continuing on with the subject of thighs, this brings me to another story of my British friend and photographer Steve Brickles, who admirably ran the New York marathon several years in a row. This summer he and the family moved back to England and on the weekend of the marathon this year, I thought about Steve and the fact he wasn’t here and how much I missed him. Little did I know, until I ran into his buddy Phil at one of the Holiday parties that Steve had in fact snuck back in to New York, literally for 2 days, so he could indeed run this year’s marathon – cheeky bugger! Anyway, the point of this story is that Steve is a Sagittarius, he runs marathons and he has big, strong thighs!
As we all know, we are now approaching the end of our calendar year and all of the December “Holidays” including the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve, but I wanted to touch on the very English tradition of celebrating what is known as “Boxing Day” on December 26th, the day after Christmas. Growing up, we didn’t pay much attention as to why it was or what it meant – for us it simply meant that Christmas in the U.K. was essentially always a two-day holiday and that was good enough for us! You may recall back in my summer bulletin on “Food” I touched on our family picnic traditions, one of which was my mother’s famous Boxing Day Picnics. Every year, she would drive to the seaside on Boxing Day, with anyone who wanted to accompany her, to walk on the beach with the dogs (weather permitting but not necessarily always so welcoming in those wild wintry winds atop the cliffs!) and then sit in her little red Mini eating our turkey leftover sandwiches while we watched the waves!
Mum’s red Mini!
But another great tradition back then in the area we lived, and the one I wanted to mention was the local village Boxing Day Field Hockey Match, which was played by a group of usually somewhat inebriated or hung over men, who were mad enough (and probably drunk enough as well) to go out and play in the freezing cold. One year, they were pretty ambitious as there was a lot of snow on the ground following a big blizzard, but they still went out and did their thing even though the hockey ball kept disappearing under several inches, perhaps a few feet of snow where it had drifted! It was hilarious, but hardly “hockey!” Now not everyone plays hockey, there are several other traditional sporting activities on this day. For instance, in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland the leagues all play rugby or soccer matches on Boxing Day and traditionally they are always played against local rivals to avoid traveling too far over the holidays.
In Australia they play cricket, and in England, Horse Racing is another long tradition, which comes as no big surprise really, when you consider that our Sagittarius is the Centaur, half-man, half-horse – he is literally the sign that combines both the horse and jockey. While in some African nations as well as Italy, they hold prize-fighting contests on Boxing Day. When we were growing up, Hunting was still legal, and a Boxing Day Meet was not an uncommon sight if you lived in the countryside, as we did, and as seen by this photo below. And even though Fox Hunting was legally banned in 2004, Boxing Day still remains the most popular day for the Hunt, but now the hounds chase along scented drag trails instead of pursuing live game. Many of the country folk were most upset when the Government banned hunting, because it was deemed as “cruel”, but what the politicians failed to understand is the natural cycle of country life. Fox are considered vermin, and it is necessary for farmers to keep the population down so they don’t eat all their chickens!
Keswick Boxing Day Hunt, Market Square, Cumbria, The Lake District, England 1962
So where does the tradition of celebrating Boxing Day come from, and why Boxing Day, whether it be with drunken hockey games in the snow, sandwiches on the beach, or time-honored sports matches? The tradition of Boxing Day dates back at least to the Middle Ages, when the Lord of the Manor would box up tools and money for the serfs who worked for him. Later on, the tradition turned into giving boxes of food and clothing to the needy. In the U.K. it was a custom for the tradesmen to collect “Christmas Boxes” of money or presents as thanks for a year of good service. This was mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary in 1663 and is where we get the tradition of tipping our tradesmen at Christmas-time, such as the super of your building, the UPS delivery guy or perhaps your personal trainer!
And speaking of “boxes of food for the needy,” that brings me to the story of the “Christmas Food Parcels” that my father’s sister-in-law used to send us after my parents had divorced. And so this ancient tradition continued, however, these parcels contained food items that no one, no matter how hungry, would want to eat unless they were really desperate. They contained things like cans of pressed tongue and consommé, but we reckoned a simple case of Heinz baked beans would honestly have been more useful – at least we would have eaten them! It was already degrading enough that she was sending them to us. And then, one Christmas, we received a package with superior items in it, including some booze, so we were way chuffed and opened up the bottle right away. Within days, possibly hours, we received a phone call informing us that we had been given the wrong box and would we please return it immediately – including the sherry! I believe we might have returned the box but it was definitely minus the bottle! My mother wasn’t that stupid!
And Wishing All You Sagittarians A Very Happy Birthday!
© Jan Pashley, Licensed by Creatif
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Celebrate the Holidays and may 2012 bring you all
Good Health and Much Success!
With Love, Wisdom and Peace, Louisa