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

Jan 5 – Epiphany Eve

Jan 5 – 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 (see Epiphany, Jan 6).
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

Deity of the Day for Jan. 5 – BEFANA

BEFANA

Befana Fair (Italy)
 
Themes: Overcoming Evil; Wisdom
Symbols: Broom; Horns; Hag Poppets
 
About Befana: Befana is the Italian crone goddess. Call on her for wisdom and guidance through the other eleven months of the year. Because she has lived a long life, her astute insight will serve you well. Today is her festival day in Italy, celebrated with horns, noise makers, songs, and music. These loud sounds drive out evil and mark the passage of winter’s darkness out of the region.
 
To Do Today: Have any children in your life follow the Italian tradition of leaving Befana a broom to fly on and a gift basket. According to legend, Befana rewards this kindness with little gifts in stockings much like Santa Claus.
 
Find a “kitchen witch” at a gift shop and hang it up near the hearth to welcome Befana’s wisdom into your home.
Or, take a broom clockwise around your house, sweeping inward toward a central spot to gather her beneficent energies.
To protect your home for the rest of the year, use a kazoo or other noise maker (pots with wooden spoons work well). Go into each room and make a loud racket saying,
 
All evil fear! Befana is here! Away, away, only goodness may stay.
 
If your schedule allows, make a poppet that looks like an old woman. Fill it with dried garlic, pearl onions, and any other herbs you associate with safety. Keep this near the stove or hearth to invoke Befana’s ongoing protection.
 
 
By Patricia Telesco

Origin Of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

The twelve days in the song are the twelve days starting Christmas Day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (December 26) (Boxing Day or St. Stephen’s Day, as being the feast day of St. Stephen Protomartyr) to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day). Twelfth Night is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking.”

Although the specific origins of the chant are not known, it possibly began as a Twelfth Night “memories-and-forfeits” game, in which a leader recited a verse, each of the players repeated the verse, the leader added another verse, and so on until one of the players made a mistake, with the player who erred having to pay a penalty, such as offering up a kiss or a sweet. This is how the game is offered up in its earliest known printed version, in the children’s book Mirth without Mischief (c. 1780) published in England, which 100 years later Lady Gomme, a collector of folktales and rhymes, described playing every Twelfth Day night before eating mince pies and twelfth cake.[2]

The song apparently is older than the printed version, though it is not known how much older. Textual evidence indicates that the song was not English in origin, but French, though it is considered an English carol. Three French versions of the song are known. If the “partridge in a pear tree” of the English version is to be taken literally, then it seems as if the chant comes from France, since the red-legged (or French) partridge, which perches in trees more frequently than the native common (or grey) partridge, was not successfully introduced into England until about 1770.

The song was imported to the United States in 1910 by Emily Brown, of the Downer Teacher’s College in Milwaukee, WI, who had encountered the song in an English music store sometime before. She needed the song for the school Christmas pageant, an annual extravaganza that she was known for organizing