The star Spica appears high in the southwest about 45 minutes after sunset at this time, which means we’re drawing close to the halfway point in the summer season.
The halfway point in summer is the cross quarter day known as Lammas, for loaf mass, which indicates that this mid-season is all about bread and the wheat harvest. Traditionally at loaf mass, the season’s first wheat would be ground into flour then baked into bread and offered at the sacred site as a blessing for the remaining harvest. Later, the farmer’s wife would be tossed in a blanket with the last sheaf, to bring good luck in the subsequent threshing.
As herald of this season, the star Spica has been associated throughout the ages with grains and abundance. In ancient Egypt, there is evidence that loaves of bread were used as offerings in funerary rites. The Mother Goddess associated with Virgo held Spica as a shaft of wheat in her arms, scattering the seeds to form the Milky Way, the pathway of souls.
In the Christian tradition, this season of summer’s cross quarter is also the season when the miracle of feeding the multitude occurs, when five loaves of bread and two fishes are made substantive enough to feed 5000. The elements here make it easy to associate this event with the stars, with the five loaves linked to Spica, the star of abundance in the arms of the maiden Virgo, and the two fishes to the constellation Pisces, which stands exactly opposite to Virgo in the sky. Spica is unattended by any near star, and was known astrologically to confer brilliance and innate talent ~ whatever the star touches will be illuminated.
When you find Spica in the sky this week, consider what you have to offer at this cross quarter, and remember that the star of abundance will greatly multiply whatever you bring.