The Northern Hemisphere of Earth will begin to tilt closer to the Sun in mid-March--nine days from today. The Sun will be at its zenith over the equator--this year, on March 20th at 5:14am UT (Universal Time). However, Julius Caesar had fixed the vernal equinox as March 25th in 45 B. C. E. (Before the Common Era) in what is historically referred to as the Julian calendar. But about 1,500 years later, Pope Gregory XIII, working with a Jesuit and astronomer named Christopher Clavius, creating the Gregorian calendar. The switch reinstituted fixing Easter through use of lunar phases based on the Hebrew calendar (explaining why Easter and Passover tend to intersect--Christ's "Last Supper" was, in fact, a Passover seder), and, it also shifted the vernal equinox to on or around March 21st. Gregory XIII had no intention of validating a Roman Emperor's perspective--given the role of Romans in the death of Christ.
Interestingly, Julius Caesar died one year after the creation of the Julian calendar. And he died in March. The Ides of March, to be specific. Ides comes from the Latin "idus" which means in the middle of or to divide halfway. The word ides was used to describe the half-way point of other months during Caesar's time as well.
Caesar was stabbed 23 times on the Ides of March in the Roman Senate by Roman Senators. There were two leaders in the betrayal, including Brutus, made famous by Shakespeare in his play, Julius Caesar, with the line, "Et tu, Brute?" According to Plutarch, there was a total of 60 conspirators...or those whose silence allowed the atrocity to occur.
But what was behind Brutus's March Madness, besides an unquenchable thirst for power?
Brutus may have been Julius Caesar's biological son; Brutus's mother was one of Caesar's known mistresses. And Brutus's madness was apparent at least one year before he betrayed his Emperor--though in truth, despite some details being lost in time, it's clear that Brutus was a cruel man who profitted from other people's misery. But no matter what Brutus did, Caesar forgave him--even promoted him, adding more validity to the speculation Brutus was Caesar's biological son. In 45 B.C.E., one year before he murdered Caesar, Brutus divorced his wife, Claudia--a political marriage for her family--and married his half-first cousin, Portia. It was scandalous, not because of their closely linked genetics, but because Brutus essentially had no reason for divorcing his first wife outside of wanting a new one. Brutus was beginning to show social cracks in his mad psyche, but like his blood-lust, like his thievery, the cracks were ignored. It's an interesting parallel in 2012, an election year in the States, but also, a year with incredibly bizarre global weather. The cracks are showing--socially and physically. Just like Brutus.
The word vernal comes from the Latin "ver" which means spring or green as in "spring greenery." The vernal equinox is based on a Northern Hemispheric perspective; March 20th is actually fall in the Southern Hemisphere. As the Northern Hemisphere tilts closer to the Sun, the Southern Hemisphere begins to tilt further away. The equinox represents that dualism. One part of Earth is closer to the Sun while another is yet further away. One part of Brutus loved his father, while another part resented him.
There is only one other time of year where our eternal dualism, caught in binary opposition, sheds equal light on the cracks. In Caesar's time, March was named after the Roman god of war, Mars (Aries). The Ides of March was a Roman holiday, usually celebrated with a military parade. As we move through the month of March, keep Brutus in mind. Remember Caesar. And, Mars.
Spring is green, but before it's green--it's rather muddy. March is a transitional month--not just in the physical world, but historically, too.
Tread lightly during March Madness, friends...tread lightly.