Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Twelfth Night, Epiphany of Kore, and Persephone

January 6

Twelfth Night, Epiphany of Kore, and Persephone

 

Traditionally, on this day the ancient Greeks would carry the statue of Kore around her temple seven times as they prayed for protection and good fortune. Following the temple activities a nocturnal rite was held in honor of Kore(daughter of Zeus and Demeter, whose name means “maiden”), an aspect of Persephone before her marriage to Hades.

On this day in Old Europe the ashes from the Yule log were removed, and either stored for magickal purposes of scattered on the fields to insure fertility. Later on in the day the Lord of Misrule, know as the King of the Bean, was selected. Cakes were made, and a bean was baked into one. Whomever found the bean in his cake was then elected king for the day. The king, along with the Queen of the Pea (selected by finding the pea baked into another batch of cakes) ruled over the final Yuletide festivities

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore

Today Is . . .
Twelfth Day (aka Twelfthtide)
Epiphany
Blessing of the Waters (Turkey)
Swap Day
King of the Bean (aka Bean Day)
Apple Tree Day
La Befana (Italy)
Maroon Festival (Jamaica)
Greek Cross Day
Three King’s Day
Feast of Aesculapius (Greek God of Healing)
Perch Tenlauf (Austria)
Take a Poet to Lunch Day
Children’s Day (Uruguay)
St. Peter Baptist’s Day (patron of Japan)
Army Day (Iraq)
St. Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchoir’s Day (patron of travelers)
Old Christmas Day
St. Macra’s Day (patron against breast disease)
National Shortbread Day
)0(
Day of the Triple Goddess ~ On this date in the year 1988, Circle Sanctuary of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, became legally recognized as a Wiccan Church by its local Township and County levels of government. Circle Sanctuary’s attainment of church zoning was a significant victory for Wiccans around the world, for it was the first time a Witchcraft group had been publicly sanctioned as a church by local government officials!

Christian/Pagan: Epiphany, Twelfth Night, Three Kings Day, Tirer Gâteau/Les rois (Voudun)

Greek: The sixth day of each month is sacred to the Goddess Artemis.

Greek/Roman: Koreion, the festival of Kore, also known as Persephone. In Roman-occupied Alexandria, water was drawn from
the Nile as part of the ceremonies. Theodosia celebrated the Gift of God on the island of Andros of ancient Greece, when it
is said that the water drawn of the spring nearby and drunk at the temple of Dionysos tasted like wine, starting on this day
and continuing for a week. The miraculous birth of Aion (Aeon), Kore’s child of a virgin birth, was associated with Dionysus and
Sarapis, and this may be why Christians associate the Epiphany of January 6th with the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana,
when Jesus turned water into wine (of even better quality than the wine which had been served by the family of the newlyweds!).
Although the celebration of Aeon’s birth to Kore is far older than the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus, Christians were
scornful of it and thought it mocked the story of the birth of the Christ child. They were also disgusted with the ritual where
the naked statue of Kore was brought up from underground, adorned with jewels, and paraded around Her temple seven times
for protection.  Despite their scorn, Christ’s birth was celebrated on the date of the Koreion, January 6th, rather than
December 25th, until the fourth century.

Celtic: Day of the Three-Fold Goddesses: Maiden, Mother, Crone.

Slavic Pagan: Turisi ~ Procines (January) 6
Turisi is the holiday of the bull, Jar-tur, a symbol of the powerful forces of life and fertility. People
celebrate by wearing masks and parading in imitation of the Great Bull. Young and old alike join in playing games, ending
the New Year holiday. http://www.irminsul.org/arc/010sz.html

Koreion – An early Church father, St Epiphanius complained that in Alexandria in the temple of Kore-Persephone, a hideous mockery was enacted on Epiphany. “And if anyone asks them what manner of mysteries these might be, they reply saying, ‘Today at this hour, Kore, that is the virgin, has given birth to Aeon.’” Part of the ritual involved bringing the naked statue of the Kore up from underground, adorning Her with jewels and parading Her around the temple seven times for protection.

Despite Epiphanius’s scorn, the myth of Kore giving birth to Aeon, the year-god, is much older than the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus which he thought it mocked. Until the fourth century, Christ’s birth was celebrated on January 6th rather than December 25th. Source: Rahner, Greek Myths and Christian Mystery

Epiphany – The Epiphany (which means apparition or manifestation) honors the arrival of the Magi and the first public presentation of the Baby Jesus. In Belgium, children dress up as the Three Kings and go from door to door singing a begging song. In Spain, the Magi leave gifts in the shoes children have set out on balconies or by the front door the previous evening, filled with straw and grain for the camels. Children who awaken to find a charcoal mark on their face are said to have been kissed by Balthazar. Since the twelve nights of Christmas are a liminal time, when evil spirits, like the Greek kalikatzari, can roam the earth, people protect their houses by chalking the Three King’s initials C or K (in Hungary G), B and M (for Caspar, Balthazar and Melchoir) on their doors.

In Bulgaria, housewives rise early and carry the family crucifix, icons and plough to the village fountain. There they wash them with salt and water saying, “May the wheat be as white as the plough, as wholesome as the salt.” The clergy also bless homes with holy water. If the water freezes on the priest’s boxwood whisk, the year will be good and the crops fruitful.

In Danube port towns, they bless the waters. In Philippopolis, the most important town of southern Bulgaria, the priest throws the cross from the bridge into the Maritza River. The man who recovers it is allowed to take it around from house to house and receive money gifts, then returns it to the priest who bestows his blessing.

A similar blessing happens in Hungary only the priest uses salt and water and blesses houses and puts the initials of the three kings (K, M and B for Kaspar, Balthazar and Melchior) on the doorstep.

Italians believe that animals can talk on the night of Epiphany so owners feed them well. Fountains and rivers in Calabria run with olive oil and wine and everything turns.

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night was written in 1600 for the popular celebrations that used to take place in Britain on January 5, the Twelfth Night revels.

The Bean King
In olden times, a bean (or a pea or a penny) was baked into the Twelfth Cake eaten on Twelfth Day, January 6. As the ancient Romans used to do at the festival of Saturn at this time of year, people elected a “king” for the day. The British had their “king” when someone found the bean in his slice of cake.

Druidic Customs
Old British customs for Twelfth Night abound, with scholars telling us some are Roman and some probably Druidic. A “king” was elected for the evening, and went through the house chalking crosses on the rafters against devils. After this, the master and mistress of the house went about the home with a pan of incense, a candle and a loaf to prevent witchcraft.

Who were the Magi?
The Wise Men of the East who brought gifts to the baby Jesus are known as the Magi (Latin for wise men). Tradition calls them Melchior, Caspar or Gaspar, and Balthasar. They offered gold (emblem of royalty), frankincense (divinity) and myrrh (woe and death). The latter, a herb used in mummification and embalming, symbolised the persecution Jesus would receive, that would even take him to death.

Kalikandjari
In Cyprus the souls of unbaptized babies, kalikandjari, arrive on Christmas day and leave tonight. They are evil demons who steal infants. Tonight housewives customarily knead pastry dough in total silence, frying it up and flinging it on the roof for the kalikandjari, while they sang,

Little piece, piece of sausage,
Knife with a black handle,
Piece of pancake,
Eat and let us go.

Carnival Begins
The period from Epiphany (January 6), until Shrove (or, Pancake) Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French) is called Carnival. In Roman Catholic countries it is a period for amusement and revelry, hence the fairground meaning of the word. It comes from the Latin carnis, flesh, and levare, to remove. Lent, when flesh may not be eaten, immediately follows Carnival. On Shrove Tuesday, people ‘shrive’(confess) their sins and might eat pancakes to use up the last of the eggs and butter before the fast of Lent … which is why the French called it Fat Tuesday.

When is Twelfth Night, January 5, or 6?

Many reputable folkloric sources say that January 5, the Eve of Epiphany (which is Twelfth Day), is the night
called Twelfth Night on which great revels used to take place all over Europe.

For example:

“The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas, and is sometimes called Twelfth Night, an occasion for feasting in some cultures. In some cultures, the baking of a special King’s Cake is part of the festivities of Epiphany (a King’s Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA).”   Source

No less an authority than Encyclopedia.com’s article on the subject also claims the evening of January 5 as Twelfth Night.

However, according to the great Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough:

“The last of the mystic twelve days is Epiphany or Twelfth Night, and it has been selected as a proper season
for the expulsion of the powers of evil in various parts of Europe.”

So, to Frazer, Epiphany (January 6) is Twelfth Night. Moreover, in many places Twelfth Night is still celebrated
on January 6 (see this site).

Until I’m shown an authority greater than Frazer, not to mention many eminent others, such as Waverley Fitzgerald from School of the Seasons (who has a very good article on the celebration), I will stick to January 6, Epiphany, as being both Twelfth Day and Twelfth Night, January 5 being Eve of Twelfth Day/Night.

Source: EarthMoonandSky, Wilson’s Almanack and School of Seasons
•           •           •           •
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!
•           •           •           •
Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
)0(
NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple.

 

Courtesy of GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore


Egyptian Comments & Graphics

As The Wheel Turns ~ Legends and Lore

Today Is . . .

Kore’s Day
Twelfth Night/Epiphany Eve.
Old Christmas Eve. Old Christmas Eve/Twelfth Night: With One Blow, Boys Would Nail The Tailcoats Of Window Shoppers To The Window Frame Of Pastry Shops.
Eve Of Wonder.
England: Twelfth Night Revel.
Syria: Night Of The Magic Mule.
Syria: Night Of Increase.
Southern Syria: Night Of The Magic Camel.
St. Agatha’s Day. Also Known As Santo Gato, She Appears As A Cat & Can Summon Storms When Angry.
Burning Of Greens.
Glastonbury, England: Blooming Of Glastonbury Thorn, Offshoot Of The Staff Of Joseph Of Arimathea.
Discordian Festival Of Blessed Saint Hung Mung.
Old Bohemia: Beginning Of Carnival.
Festival Of Pyrotechnics.
1834 — US: Kiowa Indians record this as the night the stars fell
Eve of Wonder
Bird Day
Fair Deal Day
Nones of January
St. Simeon Stylites (patron of shepherds)
Apple Howling Day
National Whipped Cream Day
Epiphany Fair (Italy)
St. John Nepomucene Neumann’s Day (1st male US Saint)

Twelfth Night and Wassail Eve (in England) heralds the end of Christmastide. In ancient Egypt times, it was believed that the waters of the mystical and sacred River Nile possessed special magickal powers on this date.

On this date in the year 1918, renowned astrologer and author Jeane Dixon was born in Medford, Wisconsin.

Epiphany Eve -During the week before Epiphany, Italian children sometimes dress up and go in groups of three, carrying a pole with a golden star on top, and stopping at houses to sing pasquelle, little songs about the coming of the Magi. Sometimes they are given money, but other places they receive gifts of food sausages, bread, eggs, dried figs and wine. In some small rustic towns, the Nativity is re-enacted on Epiphany Eve with the newest baby in town taking the part of Jesus.

In Friuli, families gather around the hearth to watch the Christmas log burn. For centuries, bonfires have been lit to light the way for the Three Kings. The fires are called pan e vin, bread and wine, or vecja, old one. Boys run through the fields carrying burning brands, jump across the fires, and roll burning wheels down the hill, shouting out the names of their fiancées as a way to announce their engagements. The ashes from the bonfires are used to fertilize the earth and assure a good harvest.

Carol Field describes an Epiphany procession in the town of Tarcento which ascends a hill to where a huge bonfire, made of sheaves of corn, brambles of brushwood and pine branches is set up. The fire is lit by the oldest man and ignites firecrackers and fireworks while bells ring in the town. The way the smoke blows foretells the prospects for the coming year: smoke blowing east predicts a year of abundance while smoke blowing west is a bad omen for the crops. People take home embers to fertilize their fields; the embers are magically said to transform into sacks of wheat.

In some places, a straw effigy of the Befana is placed on the fire and burned as a way of getting rid of the old year. Sometimes chestnuts are thrown on the fire and roasted, as a symbol of fertility.

Traditional foods served in Friuli on Epiphany Eve include mulled wine and Pinza, a rustic sweet bread, made with corn flour (or sometimes rye and wheat), filled with raisins and pine nuts and figs, spiced with fennel seeds and shaped like a simple round or a Greek epsilon with three arms of equal length. It was once cooked under the embers. It is considered good luck to eat pinze made by seven different families.Source: Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990

Theodosia/Gift of God – On this day on the island of Andros in ancient Greece, the water of a spring by the temple of Dionysos tasted like wine. This continued for a week although it only tasted like wine inside the temple.

This was the same day in Alexandria that water was drawn from the Nile as part of the ceremonies of the Koreion. Blackburn notes that Aion (the miraculous child of Kore) was associated with Sarapis and Dionysus which may be why the liturgy for this day commemorates the miracle at the wedding-feast of Cana when Christ turned water into wine. Source:Blackburn, Bonnie and Holford-Strevens, Leofranc, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
•           •           •           •
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!
•           •           •           •
Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
)0(
NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple.

Courtesy of GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Epiphany,

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year

Twelfth Night, Epiphany of Kore, and Persephone

Traditionally on this day the ancient Greeks would carry the statue of Kore around her temple seven times as they prayed for protection and good fortune. Following the temple activities a nocturnal rite was held in honor of Kore (daughter of Zeus and Demeter, whose name means “maiden:), an aspect of Persephone before her marriage to Hades.

On this day in Old Europe the ashes from the Yule log were removed and either stored for magickal purposes or scattered on the field to insure fertility. Later on in the day the Lord of Misrule, known as the King of the Bean, were selected. Cakes were made, and a bean was baked into one. Whomever found the bean in his cake was then elected King for the day. The King, along with the Queen of the Pea (selected by finding the pea baked into another batch of cakes) ruled over the final Yuletide festivities.

December 5 – Daily Feast

December 5 – Daily Feast

The Cherokee calls this month U Ski’YA – the Snow Month. A dusting of snow softens the rustling leaves and defines the edges of rocks and trees that are hidden in heavy foliage in other seasons. This is the quiet time, the sharp edge of winter adjusting the land unto itself. The woods would be gray if it were not for the blue mist that hangs like soft gauze drapery through every glen and cleft in the hills. Evergreens thrive in soft leaf-matted ravines, and cottonwoods stand stark against the dark woods. When the winds lay down in late evening the horizon clears to show vivid colors and every window is gilded gold until the sun disappears and the blue hour comes. It is as quiet as when the earth was created – and then an owl calls.

~ I stand here upon this great plain with the broad sunlight pouring down upon it. We shall be brothers and friends for all our lives. ~

RED CLOUD – OGLALA SIOUX

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Spell Of The Day – First Day of Carnival

Spell Of The Day – First Day of Carnival
January 7th, 2003


Yesterday was the Feast of Epiphany, and by the old system of reckoning today is the second day of Carnival. The final day will fall on the eighth Tuesday from today, which is called Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). As tarot scholar Gertrude Oakley has pointed out, the festivities associated with Carnival are very likely a source for imagery in the tarot. Today is an excellent day for a tarot reading, especially one that prepares us for the events of the upcoming year.
 
By: Robert Place

Daily Feng Shui Tip for January 6th

The Christmas season is about to come to a conclusion. Church calendars in both the East and West proclaim today the ‘Feast of the Epiphany’ or ‘Three Kings Day’ when Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar followed a star to Bethlehem, offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child. So many traditions consider today to be the last day of Christmas, one that has rituals and symbols of its own. Carolers can go from house to house singing out the holidays, and in some cases help to take down Christmas trees that will be part of a big bonfire. Prayers are said on this evening, and dried herbs are blessed and burnt so that both the aroma and the attached blessings could fill the home. Doorways would be sprinkled with holy water and the letters C + M + B (representing the Three Kings) and the year would be written in chalk above the door. Today you can burn some frankincense incense and say this special prayer to Sandalphon, an angel believed to weave the prayers of the faithful into a garland to offer at the feet of the Lord. We can engage in the blessed energies of this day by saying: ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, I will show love. Where there is injury, I will heal. Where there is lack, I will fulfill. Where there is confusion, I see clearly. Where there is no heart, I will be one heart.’

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

La Befana – The Celebration of Epiphany

La Befana – The Celebration of Epiphany

By GrannyMoon, For The Lunar Monthly
 
Holidays in Italy are rich in traditions which have,for the most part,a religious history.
A favorite Italian holiday occurs on January 6.It is commonly known as “La Befana “
(Twelfth Night or the Eve of the Epiphany or Little Christmas ). La Befana is a personification of
the “spirit of the Epiphany ” and can almost be considered a nickname for “Epifania,” the proper
Italian word for epiphany.While the Western Christian Church celebrates December 25th,the
Eastern Christian Church to this day recognizes January 6 as the celebration of the nativity.
January 6 was also kept as the physical birthday in Bethlehem.
 
Tradition depicts La Befana as a kindly old lady with a stereotypical nose with a big red mole on
top of it and a pointy chin.Wearing an old coat mended with carefully with colorful patches and
tattered shoes,she flies around on a broom and carries her black bag filled with sweets and
presents for the children.Entering the houses through the chimney she places her gifts inside
the children ’s stockings hung with care,the night before.The buoni ragazzi (good kids)are very
happy to find their stocking filled with presents.They have been busy writing letters to La Befana,
la buona strega (good witch).But for the children who have not been good,there will not be
presents,but a lump of coal!
 
The origin of the tradition is veiled in mystery and in all likelihood this poetic figure goes
back to country legends of pre-Christian times.Befana also exists in various other popular
traditions.For instance on the evening of January 5 th ,”The Old Woman ” ((symbolizing the
out going winter),Befana appears in street processions as a masked figure with her consort,
“Befano “,”The Old Man “.Their followers revel as music fills the street,they receive
offerings,the gift of prosperity and blessings from Befana.Then to assure a good year,
the dolls are burned in effigy in the town square,welcoming the returning spring.
Her festival has usurped an ancient pagan feast set celebrated on the Magic Night,the 6th day of
the New Year,chosen by ancient Eastern astronomers according to their complicated calculations.
Epiphany was, therefore, pagan in origin.Only later was the day associated with the life of Christ.
 
Apparently there was a woman with a broom called Befana found on some Etruscan scratchings.
The people in remote areas of the Emilia still call on her by that version of the name to bestow or
cure malocchio (evil eye).Even la scopa (the broom)is considered a blessing against evil.
In Italy tradition,however,the Christmas holidays ending on 6th January,is quite fitting for a gift-
giver since the Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi (or 3 Wise Men)to the
infant Jesus,with their gifts of gold,frankincense,and myrrh.The Magi were named Balthazar,
Melchior,and Gaspar,according to tradition.According to legend the three men during their
journey stopped and asked an old woman for food and shelter.She refused and they continued
on their way.Within a few hours the woman had a change of heart but the Magi were long gone.
The Befana is depicted as a witch astride a broom,still searching the world for the Baby Jesus.
Thinking of the opportunity she had missed,Befana stops every child to give them a small treat in
hopes that one was the Christ child.Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking
for the baby Jesus.
 
Many welcome La Befana by laying out a small meal for her.Consisting of sausage and
broccoli and usually accompanied by a glass of wine.After her arrival, it is a time for celebration
and people move from house to house visiting friends and relatives.
 
This is a song used by some Italian children,a rough translation into English would be:
 
La Befana comes at night
In tattered shoes
Dressed in the Roman style
Long live la Befana!!
She brings cinders and coals
To the naughty children
To the good children
She brings sweets and lots of gifts.
 
Take frankincense, both of the best and the inferior kind,also cumin seed.Have ready a
separate scaldino (spirit bowl),which is kept only for this purpose.And should it happen that
affairs of any kind go badly,fill the scaldino with glowing coals,then take three pinches of best
incense and three of the second quality,and put them all ‘in fila ’ (in a row)on the threshold of the
door.Then take the rest of your incense and the cumin,and put it into the burning coal,and
carry it about,and wave it over the bed and in every corner,saying:
.
In nome del cielo!
Delle stelle e della luna!
Mi levo questo mal d ’occhio
Per mia maggior ’ fortuna!
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Che mi date mal d ’occhio maladetta sia
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Chi mi ha dato il maldocchio
Me lo porta via
E maggior fortuna Mi venga in casa mia!
.
Translation:
In the name of heaven
And of the stars and moon,
May this trouble change
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Should this deed be thine;
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Take it away,bring luck,I pray,
Into this house of mine!
 
Then when all is consumed in the scaldino,light the little piles of incense on the threshold of the
door, and go over it three times, and spit behind you over your shoulder three times,and say:
 
Befana!Befana!Befana!
Chi me ha dato maldocchio!Me lo porta via
 
Translation:
Befana!Befana!
Befana!I say,
Since thou gavest this bad luck,
Carry it away!
 
Then pass thrice backwards and forwards before the fire,spitting over the left shoulder,and
repeating the same incantation.
 
Looking for a place to celebrate in the typical Italian tradition…here are a few!
Paularo,Italy :La Femenate Bonfire (January 6).
Tarcento,Italy :Pignarul Giant Bonfire Festival (January 6).
Cividale,Italy :Historical Pageant and Costume Parade (January 6).
Gemona,Italy :Messa del Tallero Medieval Pageant (January 6).
Milan,Italy :Epiphany Parade of the Three Kings proceeds from the Duomo to the church of
Sant ’Eustorgio (January 6).
 
The legend of the Befana has had an important role in the imagination of all children of the world.
Those who wish to relive the magic of the first wonders of infancy and understand the meaning
and origins of this extraordinary figure,should be prepared to undertake a long voyage that will
carry them back in time,to the origins of human ’s history.
 
This little old lady so dear to children has continued to fascinate them for centuries, and they still
await her arrival on the night of her holiday.The gatherings at La Befana are filled with music,
song,traditional foods, sweets and gifts.Celebration reigns supreme, with people opening their
hearts by sharing love and peace in the World.
 
Source: “The Legend of Old Befana “, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,1980,by Tomie dePaola
“Etruscan Magic &Occult Remedies” by Charles Godfrey Leland,University Books,NY,1963
Befana incantation from “Etruscan Magic &Occult Remedies “, by Charles Godfrey Leland,University Books,NY,1963.
“Befana ” by Fabrisia
 
Copyright GrandmotherMoon