I invite you to think about the meaning of the four cardinal feast-days celebrated in the Christian calendar, which are so deep in meaning. Initiates have not invented them, they simply remind us how they signify the large rhythmic events of nature and the cosmos, and the correspondence with what can happen in ourselves.
During the year there are four cardinal feasts – Easter, Midsummer, Michaelmas and Christmas. These feast days were not established without reason, by chance. They are closely related to annual cycles of the Earth and have existed since the earliest times, but under other names. Christians did not invent them, they did not establish the feast days, they merely repeated old customs whose origin lies in prehistory. Over the course of the year as the sun moves around the circle of the zodiac it travels through four important points – called cardinal points – the solstices and equinoxes.
The equinoxes correspond to the two days of the year when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length. These two days are March 21 and September 21. The solstices, on the other hand, correspond to the two days on which the angle between the sun and the equator is at its maximum. These are December 21, the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year, and June 21, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere).
These four points, the solstices and the equinoxes, correspond with four so-called cardinal feasts: Christmas, Easter, St John’s and Michaelmas. These feast-days were instituted by the initiates as a reminder to human beings that, on those days, the sun sets particularly powerful currents in motion in the universe and that, if they are aware of them, human beings can draw on these currents and use them to advance their evolution. The passage from one season to the next occurs at these four points, each of which is a nexus of extraordinary forces particular to each season. The seasonal forces are organized and regulated by very powerful spirits, under the command of which are many lesser spirits whose task is to distribute these energies and forces to every part of the planet.
On about June 21, with the summer solstice, we enter the period in which light triumphs over darkness, and a few days later, on June 24, we celebrate the feast-day of St John. On that day it is customary to light fires that burn all night. The summer solstice is ruled by Archangel Uriel. The Church never mentions this archangel, and you might well wonder why. Archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael, who preside over the three great feasts of the winter solstice and the spring and autumn equinoxes, are all familiar to Christians, but Uriel is almost unknown. Uriel is an archangel of light; his name means ‘God is my light’. The feast of St John coincides with the moment when the sun enters Cancer – the sign in which Venus is in exaltation – and this is no chance coincidence, for the feast of St John is the feast of fire, the feast of the summer heat, which ripens fruit and all other things in nature. In summer, nature is on fire. But this fire is also the fire of physical, sensual love, and it is well known that, in some countries, the night of St John was the occasion for all kinds of sexual excesses. This, no doubt, is why the Church has always preferred not to give prominence to Archangel Uriel and the celebration of the summer solstice.
In addition to the four Archangels, Initiatic science also links the cardinal points with four planets and certain Sephira in the Sephirotic Tree:
- Easter – Raphael – Mercury (Sephira Hod)
- St. John – Uriel – Earth (Sephira Malkout)
- Michaelmas (Saint Michel) – Mikhael – The Sun (Sephira Tiphareth)
- Christmas – Gabriel – The Moon (Sephira Yesod)
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Complete Works Book 32 The Fruits of the Tree of Life