“Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.”
– Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne
JANUARY – THE WOLF MOON
January is the first month of the Gregorian calendar. Its name comes from the two-faced Roman God Janus, ruler of gates and doorways. Its astrological sign Capricorn, the goat (December 21 – January 20), is a cardinal Earth sign ruled by Saturn. Before Julius Caesar hired the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria in 46 BCE to reform the calendar, the year began with the Spring Equinox. But the traditional calendar had gotten out of sync with the seasons. The new Julian calendar remained in effect until it too, fell out of sync and was reformed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. The Gregorian calendar is today’s common calendar though some religions still use variations of the Julian calendar.
January, as mentioned earlier, is named for Janus (Ianus), the two-faced Roman God of the doorway, which is the transition point between the safe indoors and the outside world, where anything might happen. Before Janus came to the city, he was Dianus, an Italian Oak God whose consort was the woodland Goddess Diana. The Romans weren’t alone in believing that this opening needed to be protected. The mezuzah, which holds verses from Deuteronomy, is affixed to doors of Jewish houses. Medieval cathedrals feature elaborate facades around their doorways and nearly every Pagan is taught to cut a “doorway” into the energy of the circle.
January brings along with it, a time of new beginnings. New Year’s Day brings with it the tradition of making resolutions for the year. Popular customs include opening the front and back door of the home, a symbolic way of letting the new year in and the old year out. Epiphany or Twelfth Night, falls on January 6 and is the final night of the Christmas season. This night is a time to gather family and friends near a crackling fire, enjoying good and sweets and sharing hopes and wishes for the coming year.
January’s Full Moon was known as the Wolf Moon, a time when the hungry pack would search for food. In many regions, snow blankets the ground icicles hang from the eaves, and the night sky is spangled with starlight. Evergreen trees, symbols of eternal life, stand out now in the winter woodland. Blue jays and cardinals brighten the winter landscape.
Traditionally during this month Pagans perform purification magick using seasonal scents such as pine and ginger. The ritual burning of written charms so that their magick may be released is also popular in January.
—Excerpt from Llewellyn’s 2018 Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac
Article Entitled “January” by Barbara Ardinger, PhD
The Cold Moon – The Wolf Moon
In January, the nights are long and dark, and many of us are trying to stay warm under a blanket of snow as the Cold Moon approaches (in some cultures, the Cold Moon is the name given to December’s moon, instead). Some of the native tribes of North America called this time the Wolf Moon, because this was when the wolves were howling, hungry, outside lodges where people stayed warm within. Other groups referred to it as the Snow Moon, for obvious reasons.
This time of year, we’re all feeling a bit slow and “off” as our bodies adjust to chillier temperatures. It’s easy to just lie on the couch watching Netflix and eating comfort food when it’s cold and gloomy outside, and making any kind of magical effort can seem like a real challenge right now.
- Colors: Black and white, silver
- Gemstones: Hematite
- Trees: Birch, Hazel
- Gods: Inanna, Freyja
- Herbs: Thistle, nuts and seeds, marjoram
- Element: Air
Cold Moon Magic
This is a good time to work on magic related to protection, both physical and spiritual. Use this time to develop your inner self, and advance spiritually, becoming closer to the higher aspects of your deities. Take the time in your busy schedule to meditate and think about what it is you really want out of life, and whether you’re showing people your true self.
January is also a great time to work on full moon magic – after all, the nights are long and dark, and in some areas the moon itself is the only source of light. Put aside your lethargy, and focus some energy on developing your intuition and wisdom.
Finally, for many people, winter is a season of simplification. Set aside everything you don’t need, and try a minimalist approach instead. On a mundane level, try doing a thorough cleaning of your physical space – get rid of the clutter. On a spiritual and emotional level, try to do the same thing – teach your mind to let go of the things that are creating excess baggage for your spirit and soul.
Festival: None this month.
Moon name: Wolf Moon. Other names include Ice Moon, Old Moon, Snow Moon, and Moon After Yule.
Astrological signs: Capricorn, December 21–January 20; Aquarius, January 21–February 20.
Nature spirits: House spirits and brownies.
Herbs: Angelica and thyme.
Scents: Pine, juniper, and musk.
Colors: White and violet.
Powers: Protection, reversing, and undoing; clearing the decks; new ideas and goals.
Other: New Year’s Day, Wassailing, Plough Monday, Twelfth Night, St. Agnes’ Day, Burns Night
—Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Symbols for the Month of January
January’s Festivals: None
January’s Sign of the Zodiac
Capricorn (December 21–January 20)
Aquarius(January 21–February 20)
January’s Celtic Tree Astrology
Beth (Birch) (December 24 – January 20)
Luis (Rowan) (January 21 – February 17)
January’s Runic Half Months
Eoh (December 28 – January 12)
Peorth (January 13 – January 27)
Elhaz (January 28 – February 11)
January’s Birth Flower
“Here’s to thee, old apple tree whence thou mayest bud, whence thou mayest blow, whence thou mayest bear apples now.”
“January brings snow, makes our feet and fingers glow!”
“To shorten winter, borrow money due in spring!”
“Pale January lay in its cradle day by day, dead or living hard to say.”
Folklore Courtesy – Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
Calendar of Events for January
- 1: Birthday of folklorist Sir James Frazier, 1854. Frazier’s work, The Golden Bough, is a must-read for anyone interested in modern Paganism, and the mythologies of the past.
- 13: Last of Austria’s witchcraft laws repealed in 1787
- 19: Birthday of Dorothy Clutterbuck, who allegedly initiated Gerald Gardner into the New Forest coven.
- 20: Celtic Tree Month of Birch ends
- January 21: Full moon–Cold Moon at 12:17 a.m. This is a good month to work on developing the inner self, connecting with the deities of our paths, and focusing on self-discovery and awareness.
- 21: Celtic Tree Month of Rowan begins
- 24: Sementivae, a grain-oriented festival celebrating the sowing of the fields in preparation for springtime’s planting.
- 25: Birthday of poet Robert Burns, 1759
- 30: Birthday of Z Budapest, founder of Dianic Wicca
- 30 – Feb. 2: Roman celebration of Februalia
- 31: Up Helly Aa celebration, Shetland Islands, Scotland
There lingers an old superstition about bayberry candles, that to burn one in the home on Christmas Eve or on the first day of the year brings good fortune to the home. According to one tradition, each member of a family makes a wish while lighting the candle–if the candle burns all the way down, it comes true. In another lovely traditions, a woman sends a candle to her distant sweetheart with instructions for what day and time to burn the candle. They believe the fragrances somehow drifts together as a symbol of their thoughts of one another.
It seems, however, that the pre-electric homes that produced such a candle already enjoyed good fortune–it takes nearly a pound of bayberries to produce enough wax to create a single candle. Even so, these sumptuous green candles, along with memories of their traditions, linger on, giving off a wonderful smell as they burn. The folklore of the bayberry candles–bringing luck to the home and money to the pocket, as the print on the popular seven-day candle often reads–aligns well with a spell popular with witches of the bi-continental American traditional variety: the Road Opener.
A road opening spell opens up opportunities for the person casting the spell. If the person seeks a new job, the spell increases the possibilities of finding one. If the person wants to make a life change such as returning to school, traveling, or starting a new creative endeavor, the Road Opener invites in that possibility. If performed with the right influences, it can even expand a person’s choices when dating. Often these spells work best as a follow-up to a cleansing spell known as an uncrossing, but if circumstances seem limited rather than negative, the Road Opener itself works just fine.
Bayberry Candle Road Opener Spell
The best days to perform this spell are January 1, any New Moon, any Full Moon, and anytime the Moon is in Aries.
You will need:
One glass-encased, seven-day bayberry candle
Four pinches of dirt, gathered from each point of a four-way-stop intersection
Symbols representing desired opportunities such as keys for a new home, a sample pay stub for a new job, etc.
Place the candle on a heatproof plate in a fire-safe zone. Write on the candle glass with the marker what roads you want opened–be clear about your goals without focusing on how those goals might come about.
Light the candle, saying,
Opportunity, come this way!
Set down one pinch of dirt, saying,
Eastern roads are open to me.
Set down the next saying,
Southern roads are open to me.
Set down the next, saying, Western roads are open to me.
Set down the next, saying,
Northern roads are open to me.
You can further adjust the Road Opener to the specific area of life you need opened up by adding symbols and chants related to that purpose.
Allow the candle to burn all the way down.
—Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar 2018
Witchy Ways to Celebrate January
Decorate your home and altar with violet and white, and burn pine and musk. Use pine needles as your focus for new beginnings.
Cook with love and try new things to add a spark to the new year.
Honor your place in the world and the joy in your heart by creating a daily practice.
Try a new way of spelling by creating a sigil.
Let go of what’s not working for you; start with a clean slate and move on.
Create a magical calendar for the year and give yourself a focus for each month.
Be understanding of others’ beliefs and promote your own in a sensitive, open way.
Fall in love with the world around you again as you get ready for the first stirrings of spring. The earth is at its barest—warts and all—so celebrate any beauty you find.
Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
We are Witches
We walk the path of the Old Gods
From this moment forth
We will not walk alone
Together, we will worship
Together, we will practice our Craft
Together, we will learn and grow
We vow to work, from this day forward
In perfect love and perfect trust
According to the free will of all
And for the good of all
Creating only beauty
Singing in harmony
Our song upon the Earth
Love is the law and love is the bond
In the name of the Goddess and the God
So do we vow, and so mote it be.
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