Daily Feng Shui News for Nov. 1st – ‘All Saint’s Day & All Souls Day’

Today’s ‘All Saint’s Day’ holiday recognizes the over ten thousand saints of the Christian Church. It’s interesting to note that originally both ‘All Saint’s Day’ and tomorrow’s ‘All Souls Day’ celebrations were in May. They were moved to November to downplay the pagan energies associated with Halloween, with the hope being that if moved these Christian holidays would slowly overtake the ‘pagan’ ones. No such luck. If you’re looking for luck, invoking the intercession of Saint Cayetano could be just the ticket. This patron saint of prosperity and gambling dedicated his life to helping others build their fortunes, so ask him to help you build yours too. Can’t hurt, right?

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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A Celtic View of Samhain

A Celtic View of Samhain

Author:   Morgan   
  
One of the most widely known pagan holidays is Samhain, a day that is celebrated by Wiccans, Pagans, and Druids alike. The modern Samhain has its roots in the ancient Celtic fire festival from which it gets its name, pronounced SOW-en, believed by some to mean “summer’s end”. Samhain is the Irish Gaelic name for the holiday, which is also called Samhuinn in Scottish and Calan Gaiaf in Welsh (Kondratiev, 1998) . According to the Gaulish Coligny calendar it is called Trinuoxtion Samonii, which means the “three nights of summer’s end”, indicating that the holiday was originally celebrated over a three-day period (Kondratiev, 1998) .

In modern vernacular Samhain is called Halloween, abbreviated from All Hallow’s Eve, the name given to the holiday because of it’s placement near the Christian church’s holiday of All Saints day, or “All Hallows”. Originally the Catholic holidays that take place on and around Samhain of All Souls and All Saints days were in February having been set during the Roman feast of Feralia, but when the Church spread to the Celtic lands the dates were shifted to November.

The Celts celebrated Samhain as the ending of the old year and beginning of the new. Caesar tells us, in his writings about the Gallic War, that the Celts saw the day as well as the New Year beginning at sunset (Freeman, 2002) . This would mean that Samhain would have been celebrated starting as the sun went down on one day and continuing on to end at the next sunset. Samhain stood opposite Beltane, and as Beltane marked the beginning of summer, Samhain marked the beginning of winter; moreover as the beginning of the New Year Samhain was probably the most important holiday of the year (McNeill, 1961) .

The precise dating of Samhain is difficult to determine, as it was, like all the Celtic festivals, agrarian based, but it is likely that it would take place around what is now November as this is the time when vegetation dies and the sun is clearly waning (McNeill, 1961) . In most modern practices the date is set on October 31st, although some people still celebrate it on November 12th holding to the older date before the transition between the Julian and Gregorian calendars that shifted everything back two weeks (McNeill, 1961) .

It is the end of the harvest period, and indeed any produce not gathered in by Samhain is left in the fields (Kondratiev, 1998) . This is done because tradition holds that after Samhain night everything left in the fields belongs to the fairies; in some areas the people believed that one fairy in particular, the Púca, went out on Samhain night and claimed all the fruit that was left by urinating on it, or some say spitting on it (Estyn Evans, 1957; McNeill, 1961; Danaher, 1972) . At this time as well the herds that were put out to summer pasture at Beltane are brought back in, reuniting the herders with their families and allowing the people to decide how much stock could be kept over the winter and how much should be butchered (Estyn Evans 1957) . This was a time for settling debts, and as the last of the harvest fairs ended people would make sure that anything they owed was paid before Samhain (Danaher, 1972) . Samhain was a time that was both joyous and eerie, as it was marked by great feasts and community gatherings, but was also a time for telling ghost stories and tales of the faeries stealing people (McNeill, 1961) .

Today we continue to celebrate with this dual feeling, enjoying the atmosphere of closeness and the visitations by our dead family members, but also relishing the scariness that comes when the veil is so thin. Great bonfires would be lit just as at Beltane and Midsummer. While the Beltane fires were traditionally lit at dawn the Samhain fires were lit as the sun set as a symbol of the light surviving in the dark (McNeill, 1961) . These modern bonfires are carry-overs from the ancient Celtic time when all the fires in each home would be put out and the Druids would light a huge bonfire on a hilltop from which all the other fires would be relit (McNeill, 1961) . This practice in Ireland centered on Tara, as it was believed that what was done there would spread outward from the center (Kondratiev, 1998) . After all the fires were extinguished the Druids would light a bonfire at Tlachtga, a sacred site near the hill of Tara (Kondratiev, 1998) . Even up until the 1970’s people still regularly lighted bonfires on Samhain night in Dublin (Danaher, 1972) . .

In some areas of Ireland when the fires began to die down men and boys would scoop up still burning embers and throw them at each other, which may possibly be linked to older rituals, although the practice is dangerous (Danaher, 1972) . In Scotland the ashes from the bonfires were scattered to fertilize the fields and for protection, since it was believed that they possessed the power to drive away dangerous spirits (McNeill, 1961) . In other areas people would blacken their faces with the ashes, believing it was a protection against baneful magic (McNeill, 1961) .

Possibly the most prominent theme of Samhain was that of the thinning of the veil between the worlds. On this night the dead could return to visit the living and the fairy hills were opened, releasing all the creatures of fairy into the mortal world (Estyn Evans, 1957; McNeill, 1961) . The belief in this was so strong in rural Ireland even up to the last century that it was considered extremely bad luck not to set an extra chair at the table, put out a bowl of a special porridge, and leave the door to the home open on Samhain (Estyn Evans, 1957) . In other accounts the door should be closed but left unlocked and a bowl of fresh water left out by the hearth to welcome any returning family ghosts that choose to visit (Danaher, 1972) . In Ireland, however, it is more widely believed that November 2nd is the day when the dead return to visit (Danaher, 1972) .

This is of particular interest because it may reflect the older practice of celebrating Samhain as a three-day holiday, in which case the return of the dead may have marked the final day of the celebration. In modern practice in Ireland people would light a candle for each deceased member of their family, and in some cases visit the graveyards where they were buried to clean the graves (Danaher, 1972) . Although popular imagination paints the idea of the dead returning in a negative light this is not the way the old belief was; in the old practice people didn’t fear the dead who came back to visit but saw them as protective of the living family (Danaher, 1972) . It is a very old doctrine of the Celts that the soul is immortal and passes from one life to spirit and then to another life so it would be impossible for the Celts to see Samhain as a holiday devoid of celebration (McNeill, 1961) .

Just as all the dead were free to return to earth to visit, so the realm of Faery was opened up, although it has always been a very blurry line between faeries and the dead, as it was often said that some of the dead went to live with the fairies. The denizens of fairy were most likely to be encountered now and it was said that should a person meet a fairy rade and throw the dust from under his feet at them they would be compelled to release any humans they had taken (Danaher, 1972) . This night was one of celebration and merry making, but people preferred to travel in groups, fearing that to walk alone on Samhain risked being taken forever into Faery (Danaher, 1972) . It was thought that dusk and midnight were particularly dangerous times, and that the fairy troops passed to the west side of homes, and along water ways making it best to avoid these times and places (McNeill, 1961) . It was also a long time custom to shout out beware (seachain!) or water towards you (chughaibh an t-uisce!) if one was tossing water out of the home so that any passing fairies or ghosts would be warned (Danaher, 1972) .

This is the time that all the fairy raths, or hills, open up and the inhabitants parade from one hill to the next playing music which some people claim to hear (Danaher, 1972; McNeill, 1961) Anyone who had been kidnapped to faery could be freed within the first year and a day from when they were taken, but the spells to do so were the strongest on Halloween, as we can see in the old tale of Tam Lin (McNeill, 1961) . Because the faeries were all abroad it was also the custom in many places to leave them food offerings, but unlike the plates of food left for the dead, the food offerings for faeries took the form of a rich porridge that was made and then placed in a small pit dug in the ground (Sjoestedt, 1949) .

Another feature of the celebration is divination for the year to come. One form of such divination was to observe the direction the wind was blowing at midnight, as it was believed that this would indicate the weather of the winter to come (Danaher, 1972) . In a similar way the moon, if visible, was used for divination: a clear moon meant good weather, a cloudy moon would be observed and the degree of clouding would represent the amount of rain to come, and clouds passing quickly over the moon’s face meant storms (Danaher, 1972) . Other folk divinations took on a more homely focus as, for example, two hazel nuts or walnuts could be named after a couple and then placed near each other by the edge of the fire and if the stayed together it was a good omen but if the popped or jumped apart it meant the relationship would not last (Danaher, 1972) . Apples were also used in a variety of ways, including the modern game of bobbing for apples, which could be used to tell a person’s luck in the year to come.

Another method to foretell and individual’s fortune was to blindfold them and seat them at a table in front of a certain number of plates or bowls each of which contained something different; the bowl which the person touched first indicated something about how their year would go (Danaher, 1972; McNeill, 1961) While these practices are clearly modern they are fully in the spirit of the holiday and using divination to predict the fortunes of a person, and these methods are more easily used today than some of the older ones which focused less on the individual and more on the welfare of the community. In Scotland there was a form of divination that utilized the sacred bonfire; a circle would be made from the ashes of the still smoldering fire and around this circle of ashes stones would be placed to represent the people present – in the morning should any stone be moved or damaged it indicated doom for that person (McNeill, 1961) .

Samhain is also a time in the Celtic world to give thanks for the harvest, and the bounty that had been secured to get the people through the winter. McNeill compares Samhain to saying a prayer of thanks after a meal, just as she sees Beltane as a prayer before a meal (McNeill, 1961) . In certain parts of Scotland it was the custom up to the 1600’s for the people of a town to gather and each contribute a portion of ale, which one man would then carry out into the ocean as an offering to the sea god, Shony (McNeill, 1961) . Another interesting custom is the baking of a special oatmeal cake, which would be prepared with much ceremony and then offered to a stranger (McNeill, 1961) . This may be a reflection of older customs of sharing from one’s own abundance to ensure more in the future; this is also a reflection of a similar custom from Imbolc where after the feast the remnants were offered to the poor of the community (Carmichael, 1900) . Offerings would be made during this time by tossing them into the sacred bonfires, both in thanks for blessings received and symbolizing requests the people would like granted in the new year (Kondratiev, 1998) .

It is likely that the modern practice of Halloween trick or treating comes from older Celtic practices, called guising. In County Cork into the 19th century there was a practice of that involved a small procession led by someone dressed as a white mare that would go door to door asking for tolls and singing (Estyn Evans, 1957; Danaher, 1972) . In some parts of modern Ireland it is still the practice of trick or treating children to chant “Help the Halloween party! Any apples or nuts?” (Danaher, 1972) . This request for apples or nuts is almost certainly a reflection of older traditions, as apples are strongly connected to the Otherworld and the Hazel was a symbol of occult wisdom (McNeill, 1961) .

All through Scotland it was the custom of groups of boys to go out disguised and travel from door to rood asking for money or treats, often while singing or chanting (McNeill, 1961) . The practice slowly switched to children going out dressed in masks and carrying torches who would repeat chants like “Hallowe’en! A nicht o’ tine! A can’le in a custock!” (Halloween! A night of fire! A candle in a holder!) or “Heigh ho for Halloween, when the fairies a’ are seen, some black and some green, heigh ho for Halloween!” (McNeill, 1961) . Both of these chants reflect the older practices of the pagan holiday in referring to fire and to the fairies being abroad.

Finally, Samhain was also connected, as where all the fire festivals to some degree, to blessing activities and making charms to bless, draw luck, and protect in the year to come. In Ireland it was a custom to make a charm very similar to the solar cross of St. Brighid which would be hung on the wall over the inside of the door to ward off all bad luck and harm in the year to come (Danaher, 1972) . Infants and children would be sprinkled with blessed water and a piece of iron or a cold ember from the fire was placed under their bed to protect them; in other areas a mix of oatmeal and salt is dabbed on the child’s forehead (Danaher, 1972) . In Scotland, even up until the 1850’s, people would go out on Samhain and make torches from wood or heather and these would be lit from the sacred fire (originally the Druidic fires and later the bonfires lit at home) ; these torches would be carried around the boundary of the home sun-wise by the family to bless the place (McNeill, 1961) .

There are a few specific deities associated with Samhain, which vary by area. In Scotland, many believe that it is at Samhain that Brighid turns over control of the year to the Cailleach, who rules then until Imbolc (McNeill, 1961) . The Cailleach is in many ways the spirit of winter and of the cold weather, who controls the storms, so her rule during this time of year makes sense. For some people who follow the Tuatha de Danann of Ireland Samhain may be a period to honor the Dagda and the Morrigan , who in mythology were said to have joined together on this date. Indeed many important events occur on Samhain in Irish mythology.

In modern practice, there are many ways to incorporate these Celtic traditions, whether you are solitary or celebrate in a group. I recommend celebrating the secular Halloween first, as it is firmly rooted in the ancient practice of guising. Go to a place you consider sacred and create sacred space as you normally would, then call whatever gods and spirits you feel appropriate for the rite. During the rite itself offers should be made to the Gods in thanks and to ask for their continued blessing, and porridge may be offered to the faeries. Afterwards you could have a bonfire after putting out any other fires and turning off all the lights, but even if that’s not possible, a symbolic bonfire could be made, perhaps in a cauldron, or a large candle lit. Put out all the lights and then relight your sacred fire for the new year and then small offerings can be made to the fire, both in thanks and with requests for the year to come.

One practice that I and several friends use that reflects the old idea of lighting candles for the dead is to carve the names of all those we care about who have passed onto a candle and then light it during ritual in their honor. Different methods of divination can be done, either based on traditional methods or more modern ones, to see what the year to come might bring. When the rite is done you can either pick up the candle or light a candle or small torch from the ritual fire and walk around your yard or ritual area, clockwise, carrying it to bless the space for the year to come. Then you or your group should have a potluck feast; it might be nice if everyone contributed a dish that held some significance for him or her or was a family recipe. Portions of this should be set aside for the visiting dead who should be as welcome to attend as the living members. After the feast this plate can be left on the table for the dead, and the candle in their honor can be left burning, if it is safe to do so. When the celebration is over ashes can be taken from the ritual fire and kept as a protective charm for the year to come.

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Footnotes:
Carmichael, A., (1900) . Carmina Gadelica , volume 1.
Danaher, K., (1972) . The Year in Ireland. Mercier Press
Estyn Evans, E., (1957) . Irish folk Ways. Routledge and Kegan Paul
Freeman, P., (2002) War, Women, and Druids. University of Texas Press
Kondratiev, A., (1998) . The Apple Branch: a path to Celtic Ritual. Citadel Press.
McNeill, F., (1961) . The Silver Bough, volume 3: Halloween to Yule. Stuart Titles Limited.
Sjoestedt, M., (1949) Celtic Gods and Heroes. Dover Publications

Questions & Answers Regarding The Old Religion

The following is an excerpt from “Witchcraft: The Old Religion”

by Dr. L. L. Martello.

Questions and Answers.

Q. What is the  best way for one who  is interested in the Old  Religion to     make contact  with a genuine  coven?

A. Subscribe to  all of the  Pagan and     Witchcraft publications. It’s easier to get into a  Pagan grove which often     acts  as a backdoor  to the Craft,  since many are  Wicca-oriented in their     worship  and rituals.  Fill out  a Coven-Craft  application form  issued by     WICA. To obtain yours, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.      WICA’s address is Suite 1B, 153 West 80 Street; New York 10024.

Q. What are the major  feast-days of Witches? Could you tell me  more about     the origins of Halloween?

A. Most Anglo-American covens celebrate the following      holy days. The four major ones  are Oimelc or Candlemas on February  2; May     Eve, Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht on April 30; Lammas on July 31 or August 1;     and of course Halloween or Samhain on  October 31. The four minor Holy Days     are the two solstices: Yule, around December 22; and Midsummer, around June     21 or 22. The other  two are the equinoxes: March 20-21 for  spring and the     fall  equinox on September 22  or 23.  The following  will help to give you     some idea of the origins of Halloween:

November Eve, All Hallows’  Eve, the Gaelic fire festival  of Samhain,     now generally called Halloween, represents the summer’s end, when the Earth     Goddess turns  over her reign to the Horned God of the Hunt, the transition     from life to death, from an agrarian time to one of hunting, from summer to     winter,  from warmth  to  coldness, from  light to  darkness.  It has  been     Christianized into All Saints’ Day,  a time when the souls of  the departed     wander the land and in some cases where the souls of the living temporarily     join  their spirit brethren, a time for mediumship, remembrance of departed     loved ones,  and celebration (as  opposed to  mourning) of the  dead.   The     Roman Goddess of fruits and seeds, Pomona, was worshipped on  this day. The     stored fruits and seeds of the  summer were then opened for the celebrants.     Apples and  nuts were the  main fruits.  This was also  the autumn  harvest     festival of the Druids.

They believed in the transmigration of souls     and taught that  Saman, the Lord of Death, summoned  those wicked souls who     were   condemned to  occupy the bodies  of animals in  the preceding twelve     months. The accused believed that they  could propitiate Saman by gifts and     incantations, thus lessening if  not eliminating their sentences. This  was     also the time when the Druids lit huge bonfires in honor  of Baal, a custom     continued in Britain and Wales until recent times.    In Ireland October 31     was called Oidhche Shamhna, or Vigil of Saman.  In his Collectanea de Rebus     Hibernicis,  Villancey says  that in  Ireland  the peasants  assembled with     clubs  and sticks, “going from house to house, collecting money, breadcake,     butter, cheese, eggs, etc., for the feast, repeating verses in honor of the     solemnity,  demanding  preparations for  the festival  in  the name  of St.     Columb Kill, desiring them to lay aside the  fatted calf and to bring forth     the black sheep. The good women  are employed in making the griddlecake and     candles; these  last are sent from house to  house in the vicinity, and are     lighted up on the (Saman) next day, before which they pray, or are supposed     to pray, for the  departed soul of  the donor. Every  house abounds in  the     best viands they can afford: apples and nuts are devoured in abundance; the     nutshells are burnt, and from the  ashes many strange things are  foretold;     cabbages are  torn up by the  root; hemp-seed is  sown by the  maidens, and     they believe that if they look back they will see the apparition of the man     intended for their future spouse; they hang a smock before the fire, on the     close of the feast, and sit up all  night, concealed in the corner of  the     room, convinced  that his apparition will  come down the   chimney and turn     the smock; they throw a ball of yarn  out of the window, and wind it on the     reel within, convinced that  if they repeat the Pater Noster backwards, and     look  at the  ball of yarn  without, they  will then  also see his  sith or     apparition; they  dip for apples in a  tub of water, and  endeavor to bring     one up in the mouth; they suspend a cord with a cross-stick, with apples     at one point, and candles lighted at the other, and endeavor to catch the     apple,  while  it is  in a  circular  motion, in the mouth.”

Vallancey concludes that these practices are the  remnants of Druidism and will never     be eradicated while  the name of  Saman remains. In  this brief passage  we     will see  the origins of many  modern Halloween practices, such  a trick or     treat, the Jack-o-Lantern, and apple bobbing.

In the island of Lewis the     name Shamhna, or Saman, was called Shony.  One writer  in disgust described     “an  ancient  custom  here to  sacrifice  to  a sea-god,  called  Shony, at     Hallowtide.”  The supposed Christian inhabitants would gather at the Church     of  St. Mulvay, each  family bringing provisions and  malt which was brewed     into ale. They chose  one of themselves to wander into the  sea at night up     to his waist. He  then poured out a cup  of ale calling upon Shony to bless     his people for the coming year.   “At his return,” this writer says, “they     all went to church,  where there was a  candle burning upon the  altar; and     then standing silent for a little time, one of them gave a signal, at     which the  candle was  put out,  and immediately  all of  them went to  the     fields, where they fell a-drinking ale, and spent the rest  of the night in     dancing  and singing.   The ministers in  Lewis told me  they spent several     years  before  they  could persuade  the  vulgar  natives  to abandon  this     ridiculous piece of superstition.”

The name Saman shows evidence of      Druidism in the Irish. Another  word, the name of a drink,  is “lambswool.”     It is made from bruising roasted apples and mixing it with ale or milk.     The  Gentlemen’s  Magazine  for  May,  1784,  says,  “this  is  a  constant     ingredient at a  merrymaking on  Holy Eve.” Vallancey  shrewdly traced  its     etymological origin when he said, “The  first day of November was dedicated     to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La     Mas  Ubhal, that is,  the day  of the  apple fruit, and  being pronounced     Lamasool, the English  have corrupted  the name to  Lambs-wool.” The  angel     referred to of course is the Roman Goddess Pomona.

Q. Are these Holy Days the same throughout the world?

A. No. However, there are many universal similarities between all the pagan     religions. Names, dates and days vary according to national origin.     For instance, one of the Holy Days still celebrated by many Italian and     some Sicilian  traditions is the Lupercalia,  on February 15. It  has since     been Christianized into  St. Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14.  Let me quote from     the WICA  Newsletter:  Ancient Roman  festival  honoring Lupercus,  God  of     Fertility. It was  called dies  februatus meaning ‘day  of expiation.’  The     Lupercal–‘wolf’s grotto’–a cave on the western slope of Palatine Hill.     Near it was the ficus ruminalis, the fig tree under which Romulus and Remus     were  found and  nursed by a  she-wolf.   The Lupercai  who celebrated this     yearly festival  were made up of the Fabian who belonged to the Sabines and     the Quintilian Lupercai, the Latins. Later in honor to Julius Caesar, there     was added the Julian  Brotherhood. They sacrificed a goat.  Young neophytes     were brought in. The  High Priest touched their  foreheads with the  bloody     knife. Then another priest wiped away the blood with wool dipped into milk.     The feast began with the celebrants clothed only in goat skins and carrying     (really hiding) thongs made from the same goat hides.  They ran up and down     the  streets  of the  city striking  anyone who  passed  them.   Women came     forward to  be hit  by the  goat-thongs, believing  it  enhanced their  own     fertility. This was also a symbolic purification of the land and of the     persons touched. This was on   of the last Pagan rites to be given up     before  Christianity   completely  dominated  the  country.   It  is  still     celebrated today but in modern form, without the goat or  any other kind of     sacrifice, but  all wearing  skins  and goat  horns  in a  special  streghe     ritual.”

Q. What are some of the Christian holy days that are based upon or borrowed     from ancient Pagan Religions?

A. You’ll  find many of them discussed in this book. However, briefly, here     are some  of them. December 25 in  ancient times was the  day celebrated in     honor of  the sun, deified  in such figures  as Mithra, Osiris,  Horus, and     Adonis. It was also the  feast day of Bacchus, Krishna, Sakia,  and others.     The legends of these Gods were the same as those attributed to Jesus Christ     by  the early  Church.  Pope Julius  I  in A.D.  337 made  December  25 the     official day to celebrate Jesus’s birth, following older traditions who      honored their founders on that date. It was also the ancient celebration of     the  winter  solstice.  There  is absolutely  no  record  in  the  Bible or     elsewhere  of when Jesus  Christ was born.      All of us  are still paying     tribute to the ancient Gods  and Goddesses by the names of our  days of the     week.

English French Italian Spanish Planet Deity
Sunday Dimanche Domani Domingo Sun Mithra
Monday Lundi Lunedi Lunes Moon Diana
Tuesday Mardi Martedi Martes Mars Tiw
Wednesday Mercredi Mercoledi Miercoles Mercury Mercury
Thursday Jeudi Giovedi Jueves Jupiter Jove-Thor
Friday Vendredi Venerdi Viernes Venus Venus-Freya
Saturday Samedi Sabato Sabado Saturn Saturn

Two of the English  names come from Old Saxon rather  than Latin. Tiw’s Day     became Tuesday  in honor of the old Teutonic deity, Tiw or Tives. Wednesday     is named after the  old Teutonic Norse God  Wodan or Wotan. The Saxon  word     for  day  is  doeg.  In  olden  times the  days  were  called  Jove’s  Doeg     (Thursday), Mercury’s  Doeg (Wednesday), Mar’s <sic>  Doef <sic> (Tuesday),     etc.  Friday was the day when the  ancients paid tribute to Venus–the love     day. When  Christianity became dominant,  Friday was  no longer  considered     lucky–Jesus  was crucified on that day; also, the uninhibited sexual rites     dedicated to the love  Goddess Venus was considered a  great “sin.” Besides     the days of our week our months are also named after the ancient deities:

January: From Latin Januarius, honoring Janus, a Roman God. He presided     over the Gates of Heaven, which the Christians later assigned to St. Peter.     The Anglo-Saxons called it Aefter-Yule, and prior to that Wolf-monat.

February:  From Februus, another name  for the God  of purification Faunus,     thus fertility. The feast was held on February 15 (see  Lupercalia) and was     called Februa.

March:  After Mars, God  of War. Anglo-Saxons  called it     Hraed-monat,  rugged month, or Hlyd-monat, stormy month. A stormy March was     an omen of poor crops. A dry March indicated a rich harvest.

April: From Latin aperio “to open,” like buds. Anglo-Saxons called it Easter-monat, in honor of the Teutonic Goddess of the same name. She ruled spring and light. The Romans dedicated this month to  Venus, often referring to it as Mensis Veneris instead of Aprilis.

May: Named  after Maia  Majesta, ancient Roman Goddess of Spring. Considered Vulcan’s wife. Look up the folklore regarding the May Day celebrations, bonfires, and other rites  celebrated throughout Europe.

June: Named after the Roman Goddess Juno.     Called Sear-monat by Anglo-Saxons. Juno was Queen of Heaven and Guardian of     Marriage and ruled childbirth. June is still the most favored month for      marriage today.

July:  Originally called Quintilus, the fifth month. Old     Saxons  called it Maed-monat, “mead  month” the time to  gather honey for     the drink called mead.

August: Named after the Roman Emperor Augustus. Was once called Sixtilis, the sixth month.

September: Named  after the     Latin  number for seven,  that being the  month in the  old calender <sic>.     Saxons  called it  Gerst-monat,  barley month,  as  this crop  was  usually     gathered then.

October: From octo, the eighth  month in the old  calendar.     Saxons  named it  Wyn-monat,   “wine  month.”  This was  harvest time,  and     Bacchus and Dionysius and all the other ancient deities were honored.  See     Halloween  above.

November: From the  ninth month in  old Roman calendar.     Saxons called it Blot-monat,  “blood month.” This was  when the cattle  and     sheep were  slaughtered for food and  sacrifices.

December: Named after     the tenth month in  the old calendar. It was consecrated  to Saturn, and on     December 17  the great feast of Saturnalia  began, lasting several days. It     coincided  with the winter solstice  and the Yule  season. The Anglo-Saxons     called it Yule-monat, “midwinter month.” It coincided with the winter      solstice and the Yule season.

Seasons of the Witch

Seasons of the Witch

  • Birthstone: Topaz, signifying fidelity      
  • Third Station of the Year      
  • Kalends of November, ancient Rome      
  • The Isia, ancient Egypt (Oct 28-Nov 3)      
  • Day of the Awakeners, Bulgaria      
  • Day of the Banshees, Ireland      
  • El Dia de las Muerte, Mexico (Day of the Dead) – feast and festival celebrating Death and commemorating the dead.      
  • Voodoo: All Saint’s Day – ritual bonfires are lit for the sun loa Legba, symbolizing the re-firing of        the sun at the beginning of the new year.      
  • All Saints Day is a day of religious feasting that, with no coincidence, follows the originally pagan holiday of Halloween.  More than 2,000 years ago, Celtic peoples in Ireland, Scotland, and Great Britain held harvest feasts to which they believed the souls of their dead returned. These feasts evolved into what we now know as Halloween.
  • Voudun/Catholicism: All Saints Day – feast in commemoration of all the Christian saints. Moved from springtime to Nov. 1st to         counter the Druid’s celebration of Samhain.      
Kitano Odori, Kyoto, Japan (Nov 1-15) At Kamikyo-ku, Kitano Kaikan theatre, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture Dancing  groups and music.
World Community Day–Day for celebrating the unity behind diversity and remembering we are all one people – all  children of the one universal Deity of many names and aspects.
11/1 to 11/4: Diwali/Lunar New Year/Festival of Lights–Hindu festival for Goddess Lakshmi (source of health,  fertility, and prosperity) and Her consort, God Vishnu (the preserver); focus is on peace-making and new beginnings. [a/k/a Divali, Dipavali, Deepavali,  Bandi Chhor Divas]
Excerpted From GrannyMoon’s Morning  Feast Archives, Earth, Moon and Sky and/or School of Seasons .
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!

Daily Feng Shui For Nov 1 ~ ‘All Saint’s Day’

Today’s ‘All Saint’s Day’ honors the nearly 10,000 saints canonized by the Christian church to date. All Saint’s Day was originally celebrated in May but was moved to early November to offset the perceived paganism associated with Halloween and tomorrow’s ‘Day of the Dead.’ Regardless of when you celebrate them, asking the saints for their intercession is always a good thing. Of late, I have found myself invoking Saint Basil, patron saint of Causes and Justice. Saint Basil also assists in righting wrongs, especially where legal cases are concerned. The specific ritual assigned to invoke Saint Basil says to light three red candles before asking to bring the right remedy to the concerning situation. After blowing out the candles and when your prayers have been positively answered, you must then thank Saint Basil for his attention and assistance. Can I get an amen?

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com