word January comes from the Roman name for this month; it was named after
the god Janus, who had two faces. This deity ruled over beginnings and
endings, the past and the future. Since January is reckoned as the first
month of a new year, this connection the the god Janus is appropriate.
It is an excellent time to work on putting aside the old and outdated in
one's personal life and making plans for new and better conditions.
The Chinese use this concept in celebrating their New Year, which occurs on the first day of the New Moon when the Sun is in Aquarius. They considered this celebration a time for settling debts, honoring ancestors, and having family reunions. They carry paper images of dragons through the streets and set off fireworks to chase away evil entities and misfortune.
Even the people ot Tibet,
whose year began about the end of January, had a celebration for expelling
the Old Year. They made a dough image for the demons to inhabit, then worshiped
then for seven days. At the end of that period, they took the image outside
the village to a crossroad and abandoned it. The idea behind this seems
to have been that the negative beings, who have accumulated during the
Old Year, received recognition for their existence, but also received a
firm statement, by the action of leaving their image outside the village,
that they were not welcome to hang around.
Spirits: gnomes, brownies
Herbs: Marjoram, holy thistle, nuts and cones
Colours: brilliant white, blue-violet, black
Flowers: Snowdrop, crocus
Scents: Musk, mimosa
Stones: Garnet, onyx, jet, chrysoprase
Animals: Fox, coyote
Birds: Pheasant, blue jay
Deities: Freyja, Inanna, Sarasvati, Hera, Ch'ang-O Sinn
Power Flow: Sluggish, below the surface; beginning and conceiving. Protection, reversing spells. Conserving energy by working on personal problems that involve no one else. Getting your various bodies to work smoothly together for the same goals.
ome say that the name of the month of February comes from the Roman goddess Februa, who was also known as Juno Februa. Others say that the name came from the god Februus, who was later identified with the Roman Pluto or Dis.
The month of February, truly a month of ice in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, is a dormant time, when all activity and life appears to be low key or below the surface movement. In both the Celtic and Roman cultures, it was a time of spiritual purification and initiation. The country of Tibet celebrated the conception of Buddha and the Feast of Flowers during this time of year.
February can be an ideal time for dedicating or re-dedicating oneself to what ever deity or deities one worships. It is also a wise practice to cleanse and purify yourself, your dwelling place, and even your property lines before dedication. Purifying changes the vibrations by removing negative ones and inviting in positive ones. The month of January is a time of ending old cycles and preparing for new ones. February prepares the environment ant the body, mind and spirit for receptivity of new spiritual and life experiences.
Hatun-pucuy, or the Great Ripening, was celebrated among the Incas. The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece was also called the Festival of the Returning Daughter. This was a celebration of the Kore's return from the Underworld and the rebirth of earthly vegetation. This ceremony, unlike the Greater Eleusinian, was open to many people and was a time of initiation into the lower Mysteries. Initiation into the Lesser Eleusinian was open to all free men and women who were not guilty of murder and similar crimes. All initiates were bound by an oath of silence so effective that the secrets of the Mysteries were never told. Today we know very little about the ceremonies, except what was performing in full public view.
Kuan Yin is the Great Goddess
of the Oriental people. She has been known to offer her aid primarily to
women and girls, but there is no reason why men can not honor her and ask
her help. She is said to guide lost travelers, protect from attack by humans
or animals, bless a family with children, and heal. She is called the Compassionate
and is revered for here wisdom and love. Oriental women offered oranges
and spices before her statues.
Nature Spirits: house faeries,
both of the home itself and of the house plants.
Herbs: balm of Gilead, hyssop, myrrh, sage, spikenard
Colours: light blue, violet
Scents: wisteria, heliotrope
Stones: amethyst, jasper, rock crystal
Trees: rowan, laurel, cedar
Animals: otter, unicorn
Birds: eagle, chickadee
Deities: Brigit, Juno, Kuan Yin, Diana, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite
Power Flow: energy working toward the surface: purification, growth, forgiving yourself, and making future plans.
Old Sayings &Lore
his month was sacred to the Roman god Mars, hence the name March. Mars is similar to the Greek Ares, Tiu or Tiwaz of Central and Northern Europe, Teutates of the Celts, and Tyr of the Norse. The Roman goddess Bellona, goddess of war, had her special day during this month.
March in generally a blustery month weather-wise. The old weather saying "In like a lion, out like a lamb" is an apt description of March weather. For the Romans, it was the beginning of their year. The Spring Equinox, which falls around March 21 or 22, was a sacred and celebrated time in a great many world cultures. In the Southern Hemisphere, this would be equal to the Autumn Equinox, as the seasons are reversed. The Incas celebrated Pacha-Punchy, or Earth Ripening, at this time.
The Roman Matronalia honored Juno Luciana, an aspect of the goddess Juno, who protected women, children, and the family. Statues of the goddess were decorated with flowers, and special temple fires were lit. Girls made offerings to Juno Luciana at this time of year for happy and prosperous marriages.
The statue of Isis suckling her child symbolizes this goddess's aspect as the Great Mother, the caretaker of the Earth and all life. Flowers were floated on the rivers and the boats blessed with incense.
Eostre was the German goddess
of rebirth. Rabbits and coloured eggs were fertility symbols connected
with her. Originally, Eostre was the goddess of the Spring Equinox whose
name was changed to Easter by the Christians.
Nature Spirits: Mer-people,
Air and Water beings who are connected with spring rains and storms.
Herbs: broom, High John root, yellow dock, wood betony, Irish moss
Colours: pale green, red-violet
Flowers: jonquil, daffodil, violet
Scents: honeysuckle, apple blossom
Stones: aquamarine, bloodstone
Trees: alder, dogwood
Animals: cougar, hedgehog, boar
Birds: sea crow, sea eagle
Deities: Black Isis, the Morrigan, Hecate, Cybele, Astarte, Athene, Minerva, Artemis, Luna
Power Flow: energy breaks into the open; growing, prospering, exploring. New beginnings; balance of Light and Dark. Breaking illusions. Seeing the truth in your own life however much it may hurt.
Old Sayings &Lore
Pale Moon doth rain,
Red Moon doth blow,
White Moon doth neither rain nor snow.
he name April comes from the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who is identified with the Roman Venus. Because the Christian holiday of Easter sometimes falls this month, the Anglo-Saxons and Franks called it Easter Month; of course, the word Easter comes originally from the name of the Pagan goddess Eostre, deity of Spring, fertility, and new life. The Romans called this month Aprilis, a time of unfolding leaves and flowers.
The Megalesia of Cybele, who was also known as Magna Mater (Great Mother) in both Phrygia and Rome, celebrated the arrival of this goddess in Rome. In 204 BCE, Rome was in the midst of a great war with Hannibal. Things were going very badly for the Roman legions. Finally, the Romans sent a delegation to the Delphi oracle for an interpretation of their sacred Sibylline Books. This passage said that foreign invaders could only be driven away when the Mother of Mount Ida was transferred from Pessinus to Rome. The oracle sent the delegation to the king of Pergamum in Asia Minor, where they were told that a black meteorite embodying the spirit of Cybele was. Pine trees from Mt. Ida, sacred to the goddess, were made into a ship, and the stone was transported from on sanctuary to another until it reached Rome. In about a year, Hannibal left Italy forever.
The Japanese Flower Festival has now become a celebration of Buddha's birth. In the older celebration, however, the people gathered wildflowers for the family shrine. Those in the Shinto faith placed wooden markers on the graves and said prayers.
The Roman festival of Cerealia celebrated the return of Proserpina to the Earth goddess Ceres. Our word "cereal" comes from the name Ceres. It was the time of planting grain. Ceres was the Roman equivalent to the Greed goddess Demeter.
The Floralia is still celebrated
in many Central and Eastern European countries. It is a time to honor the
goddess of flowers. People dress in gaily decorated costumes and wear flowers
in their hair. Secretly delivering baskets of flowers on May Day is a remnant
of this old festival.
Spirits: plant faeries
Herbs: basil, chives, dragons blood, geranium, thistle
Colours: crimson red, gold
Flowers: daisy, sweetpea
Scents: pine, bay, bergamont, patchouli
Stones: ruby, garnet, sard
Trees: pine, bay, hazel
Animals: bear, wolf
Birds: hawk, magpie
Deities: Kali, Hathor, Anahita, Ceres, Ishtar, Venus, Bast
Power Flow: energy into creating and producing; return to balance to the nerves. Change, self-confidence, self-reliance, take advantage of opportunities. Work on temper and emotional flare-ups and selfishness.
Old Sayings &Lore
he Greek goddess Maia, the most important of the Seven Sisters (the Pleiades) and said to be the mother of Hermes, gave the name to this month. Some form of this goddess's name was known to people from Ireland to as far away as India. The Romans called her Maius, goddess of Summer and honored her at the Ambarvalia, a family festival for purification and protection of farm land.
In the Celtic cultures, May was called Mai or Maj, a month of sexual freedom. Green was worn during this month to honor the Earth Mother. May 1 was the Celtic festival of Beltane, a festival celebrating fertility of all things. Cattle were driven through the Beltane bonfires for purification and fertility. In Wales, Creiddylad was connected with this festival and often called the May Queen. The maypole and its dance is a remnant of these old festivities.
Bona Dea, the Roman Good Goddess, had her festival on the night between May 2 and 3. No men were allowed to attend. The Greeks had a special festival for the god Pan during May. Pan was a wild looking deity, half man, half goat. Pan invented the syrinx, or pan-pipes, made out of reeds. Originally, he was not an oppressor of women, but their loving companion.
In Finland, May 1 was celebrated
as Rowan Witch Day, a time of honoring the goddess Rauni, who was associated
with the mouton ash or rowan. Twigs and branches of the rowan were, and
still are, used as protection against evil in this part of the world.
Spirits: Faeries, elves
Herbs: dittany of Crete, elder, mint, rose, mugwort, thyme, yarrow
Colours: green, brown, pink
Flowers: lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom
Scents: rose, sandalwood
Stones: emerald, malachite, amber, carnelian
Animals: cats, lynx, leopard
Birds: swallow, dove, swan
Deities: Bast, Venus, Aphrodite, Maia, Diana, Artemis, Pan, Horned God
Power Flow: full creating energy; propagation. Intuition, contact with faeries and other supernatural beings. Strengthen connection with supernatural protectors and beings around you. Power flowing from the Greenwood Gods and trees.
Old Sayings &Lore
he original Roman name for this month was Junonious, after the Great Mother Goddess Juno; her counterpart among the Greeks was Hera. The Summer Solstice has been and still is important to many religions and cultures around the world. Not only was it sacred to goddesses of fertility, marriage, and love, but it was considered to be a time when faeries, elves, and many other supernatural beings were abroad in great numbers.
This Moon has enormous energies for calling upon and working with elementals of all types. Tides of psychic energy flow freely, enabling even the most staid of people to experience unusual happenings.
The Full Moon festival of Edfu in Egypt honored the goddess Hathor. The cow horns on her head represented the Crescent Moon. Every year at the New Moon the statue of Hathor was taken from her temple at Dendera and transported by boat to the temple of the god Horus at Edfu, arriving on the Full Moon. This festival celebrated the frank sexual union of the two deities. It was a time of great festivities and very likely human marriages, since it was considered a period of good luck.
Celtic Day of Cerridwen and her cauldron my have originally been
associated with the Summer Solstice. Cerridwen of Wales was a Dark Moon
goddess; her symbols were the cauldron, grain, and the Moon. The white,
corpse eating sow, representing the Moon, was one of her animal emblems.
Spirits: sylphs, zephyrs
Herbs: skullcap, meadowsweet, vervain, tansy, dog grass, parsley, mosses
Colours: orange, golden-green
Flowers: lavender, orchid, yarrow
Scents: lily of the valley, lavender
Stones: topaz, agate, alexandrite, fluorite
Animals: monkey, butterfly, frog, toad
Birds: wren, peacock
Deities: Aine of Knockaine, Isis, Neith, Green Man, Cerridwen, Bendis, Ishtar
Power Flow: full bet restful energy; protect, strengthen, and prevent. A time of Light; Earth tides are turning. Decision-making, inconsistencies. Strengthen and reward yourself for your positive traits.
Old Sayings &Lore
graphics by Harlan Wallach ©copyright 1994