Sunbeams are again kissing our southern earth as the daylight hours increase and we witness Nature’s reawakening to Spring. The September equinox marks the passage of three quarters of our calendar year, with the sun crossing the equator on its southward journey between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.This midpoint of the solar cycle is an interesting place to reflect upon the year thus far. I have been humbled to see many of the events in my Fate of the Nation forecast for South Africa in January play out during the course of this year.
Indeed, the ruling party took strain in the August elections and lost ground to the opposition; the drought has caused havoc in agriculture and food pricing; student protests continue and government corruption is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. There are continual calls for President Zuma to resign or move aside, the latest coming from the President’s brother, citing family concerns for his safety. There is a chance that he will stick like an irritating piece of chewing gum to a shoe, but I am waiting with bated breath to see what unfolds during this last quarter.
What’s in a Name?
Have you ever wondered why the last few months of the year are named as they are? After all, September is the ninth month, yet its Latin root ‘septem’ means seventh; October is the tenth, yet ‘octo’ speaks of the eighth. Likewise with November where ‘novem’ is ninth and not the eleventh, and December’s root ‘decem’ denotes the tenth rather than the twelfth. July and August had the names ‘Quintilis’ and ‘Sextilis’ prior to being renamed by in honour of the Caesers, Julius and Augustus, respectively.
Etymology tells us that it derives from the old Roman calendar that existed prior to our Gregorian calendar of 1582. Whilst this is true, the subtler reason is that the months were astrologically aligned with the first month of the year being March, when the equinox denoted the beginning of the northern spring as the sun crossed the equator. So although September is now the ninth month of the modern calendar year, it still retains its astrological meaning as the seventh month of the year, as do October, November and December respectively to the eighth, ninth and tenth.
September 24 is Heritage Day in South Africa, and leading up to it this year there have been news articles relating to the fact that so many of our Western Cape population have names of the month as surnames, such as September, October, Julies, Februarie and so on. Many people were interviewed and had no idea that their surnames arose from the renaming of their forefathers who had arrived in the Cape as slaves to be sold to the white settlers centuries ago. How terrible it must have been for these people to be stripped of their identity in that way and given some kind of generic name. With all these complexities facing our nation at the moment, I find it wonderful to see the current generation of descendants embracing their heritage as proud South Africans who bear the names of the months.
The equinox and Heritage Day also signal the final phase of the academic year with a little break before revision and exam-time in schools and universities. Last year’s university examinations were disrupted and delayed by student protests, and this year the smoke signal of revolution was evident in the headlines just a week after the August elections. The disruption has flared a little earlier this year during the week of the equinox and we are in the midst of a shutdown at the moment. I sincerely hope that it settles down to a level of normal access to campus for the sake of all our students, and that they can complete the year without the added stress of violent protests.
I am often asked about tissue salts for study and examinations, and can highly recommend the regular use of Kali Phos in the weeks prior to and during examinations to support brain power – focus, concentration and memory – during a time of increased mental activity, brain-fag and stress. If one is prone to emotional stress, nervous tension, butterflies or cramping in the solar plexus or stomach, then Mag Phos is called for as well. Please feel free to pop in to our shop if you would like to know how best to use them.
Examinations not only test one’s knowledge, they also test one’s state of mind. Being relaxed and calm can make a lot of difference. We wish all students (and their concerned parents) everything of the best in their preparation for clearing the final hurdles of the year. Good Luck!