New Moon in Scorpio – November 6, 2010, 04:52 UT

The Scorpio New Moon coincides with Kekri, the ancient harvest and new year’s festival of the Finns. Kekri has its origins in pagan times, as has Samhain, the Celtic cross-quarter celebration. In the old days the date of the Kekri feast was not fixed, but slightly varying yearly depending on the circumstances. Nowadays it is held on the first Saturday of November.

The pagan holidays were based on the tropical year, i.e. the apparent annual motion of the Sun around the Earth. Solstices and equinoxes are called the quarter days, marking the change of the seasons and the Sun’s ingress into one of the cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn. A cross-quarter day falls halfway between a solstice and an equinox, when the Sun is at 15 degrees of a fixed sign, either in Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius. Now the Sun is in the middle degrees of Scorpio.

In the pre-Christian agricultural society Kekri was the most important festival of the year. It marked the end of the harvest and also the turn of the year. It was a communal celebration including abundant eating and drinking. People were looking for omens, and the spirits of the dead were said to wander in this world. The dead relatives were acknowledged as living members of the family, with whom the abundance of the harvest was shared. The spirits were invited to bathe in the sauna, too.

Aptly the New Moon in the mid-degrees of Scorpio occurred in conjunction with asteroid Vesta. Vesta is associated with the element of fire, and bonfires played a large part in Kekri festivities. The Romans regarded Vesta as the goddess of the sacred flame and the guardian of the home. A hearth was the centre of the household. At the end of the harvest season the outdoors work was finished and people moved working inside the house. Astrologically Vesta is often seen as the ruler of the sign Virgo, but there is also a correspondence between Vesta and Scorpio.

A common belief has been that there was a Karelian god named Kekri which protected cattle, but this is a misconception. Later studies show that Kekri was a ghost, a spook, or an elf.

Kekri and other pagan harvest festivals in different cultures became linked with the Christian holidays dedicated to saints and the dead and celebrated in the beginning of November. In contemporary Finland we light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives. Some of the traditions associated with Kekri have devolved on the modern Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Also Halloween and many of its symbols, like lanterns and skeletons, originate from the ancient celebrations.

Huya, a trans-Neptunian object and a dwarf planet candidate, is in conjunction with the Sun, the Moon and Vesta at 15 degrees of Scorpio. Huya will come to perihelion (the point in an orbit that is closest to the Sun) in 2015 and is currently inside the orbit of Neptune. Huya was discovered about ten years ago by Venezuelan astronomers and named after the god of rain and hunt of the Wayuu who live on the arid La Guajira Peninsula between Colombia and Venezuela.

The Wayuu believe that the life cycle doesn’t end with death, but that a relationship with one’s bones continues. A few years after the first burial, a woman gathers the bones of the deceased and cleans them. Then the remains are buried again. The second burial has been an important tradition. Long-dead Wayuu are believed to return on the Earth in the form of rain, which assures the rejuvenation of vegetation and life.


Helsingin Sanomat, Kekri – ancient celebration to mark end of harvest season

Wikipedia, Cross-quarter day

Herranen & Kaartinen, Kauan eläköön suomalainen kekri!

Salakirjat, Mikä on kekri?

Demetra George & Douglas Bloch, Asteroid Goddesses, Ibis Press, 2003

Wikipedia, 38628 Huya

Wikipedia, Wayuu

Guajiro – Religion and Expressive Culture

Leave a Reply