It’s Leap Day! Here’s the history behind it

Lucky Black Cats

It’s Leap Day! Here’s the history behind it

Every four years, an extra day is added to the calendar in order to synchronize it with the solar year.

It takes the earth 365.242 days to orbit the Sun. For this reason, the full day is only added once every four years.

The extra day, called leap day or intercalary day, is added at the end of February, giving it 29 days instead of 28.

Leap year occurs in every year that is divisible by four and only in century years that are evenly divided by 400. For example, 800, 1200, 2000 were leap years but 1700 and 1900 were not because they are not divisible by 400, even though they are divisible by four.

The practice of adding the extra day began with the creation of the Julian calendar and a decree by Julius Caesar in the year 46 B.C. The Julian calendar creates an extra day every four years, and does not follow the century-divisible-by-400 rule so there is still an 11-minute, 14-second discrepancy each year.

The 11-minute discrepancy in the Julian calendar had added up to ten days by the year 1582 A.D. so Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar and dropped ten days from the month of October. He also established February 29 as the official date to add during a leap year, coined the term leap year, and created the rules for adding the leap year.

Currently the solar year is approximately 26 seconds shorter than the Gregorian year.
In the U.S., leap year coincides with presidential election years.
 

Source

Cable News Network

Advertisements

A Little About February Birth Symbols

February Babies

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” —Gertrude S. WisterZodiac: Aquarius until February 18 and Pisces from February 19

Gemstone: Amethyst
Amethyst is believed to bring the wearer courage, clarity and quick wit. The stone has long been associated with royalty in addition to myths and legends across many cultures.

Flower: Violet, Primrose
The violet stands for loyalty and faithfulness. Another February flower, a gift of a primrose lets the recipient know you can’t live without them.

Tree: Cypress, Poplar, Cedar, Pine

FROM: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/photo-gallery/birth-signs-symbols#03

February’s birth flower is the violet, which signifies watchfulness, loyalty, and faithfulness. Give a violet to someone to let them know you’ll always be there for them. The other February flower is the primrose, which lets someone know you can’t live without them.

FROM: http://www.almanac.com/content/birth-month-flowers-and-their-meanings#

February Birthstone – Amethyst

 

The gemstone representing the month of February is the Amethyst.  It is also a representative of the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Pisces.  Amethyst is a variation of quartz, and is identified by its long prismatic crystals.  These crystals have six sides at each end that can only show their color at the tips.  Though it can come in many shades, it is only identified as the color purple.  Depending on where they originate, this gemstone is unique to its region and the mine from which it came from. Amethyst has been found in Mexico, Brazil, Namibia, Zambia and also mined in the United States from North Carolina and Maine.

In the most of the northern hemisphere, the month of February can be a one of the coldest and darkest during the winter season. During this time many suffer bouts of depression and sadness. It comes as no surprise then, the Amethyst can be given as a gift to lift a loved ones spirits so that their birth-month can be a time of celebration, even in the darkest of times. It is more than well-known that specific gemstones have been designated to symbolize our birth-month. Each gemstone in the Gregorian calendar offer certain gifts of positive energy to their owners according to the season and time of year. When one is in touch with the specific powers and special energies from each precious stone, they will be gifted with many positive attributes to last throughout their lives.

The name “amethyst” is Greek for “not drunken”, and believed that it would deter the effects of drinking alcohol in excess.  In saying this, it comes as no surprise that it symbolizes sobriety, which in turn might bring one wisdom and security.  A Greek, mythological story tells that, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, one day had been outraged by an insult from a mortal he had encountered, who then created Tigers to deal his wish to have revenge on the mortal.  Amethyst, a young maiden who was on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana, happened to appear in her path en route.  She turned a statue in to a crystalline quartz, so as to protect Amethyst from the apparent danger.  At the sight of the beautiful stone, she cried tears of wine.  Her tears stained the quartz purple, then was born amethyst.

The color purple in itself was the color of royalty, making the Amethyst noble enough to have been worn by powerful monarchs.  They are inlaid on the British Crown Jewels and were also the  beloved gemstone of Egyptian Royalty and Catherine the Great.  It is the stone of Bishops and is the symbol of piety.  For those who might receive an amethyst as a gift, it is also the symbol to create calmness and tranquility, it also grants balance in emotional times.  It was also worn to protect soldiers from the weapons of war and to give them victory over their enemies, also to ensure luck to hunters that they might have a successful kill.

The February birthstone of amethyst is also referred to as the “stone of lovers” and is the stone of St. Valentine, who is told to have always worn it.  During the days of romance and chivalry in the Middle ages, an amethyst in the shape of a heart created the greatest earthly passion a couple to remain in love  for the rest of their lives.

Other interesting facts about the month of February

February Birthstone Flower:

The Primrose or Violets

February Birthstone Tree:

The Pine tree symbolizing life, longevity and immortality.

Famous People born in February:

Elizabeth Taylor- February 27, 1932

John Travolta- February 18, 1954

Cybill Shepard- February 18, 1950

Dakota Fanning- February 23, 1994

Chris Farley- February 15, 1964

Jane Seymour- February 15, 1951

– See more at: http://birthstonesbymonths.net/february-birthstone-amethyst/#sthash.Sd6QhSiW.dpuf

Daily Feng Shui News for Feb. 19th – “Amethyst”

February’s birthstone is the amethyst, an amulet that is closely associated with sobriety, courage and prudence. This gemstone purportedly protects from drunkenness and can even help someone recovering from a bad breakup to stop obsessing over their ex. This stone is also recommended for stress removal and is believed to help treat mild mental conditions. Hold this stone in your receptive hand (the hand opposite that you write with) and its peaceful vibrations will soon soothe and calm. It’s a true gem of a stone.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

About the Origins and History of Valentine’s Day

About the Origins and History of Valentine’s Day

By , About.com

The origins of Valentine’s Day may be a bit disappointing. Valentine’s Day is probably named for a saint. Its transformation into a love-fest seems to have been catalyzed by a single Englishman in the 14th century — well beyond the termination date for bawdy Roman fertility festivals, like the Lupercalia.

Chaucer first linked the February holiday of Valentine’s Day, a martyred saint’s day, with romance, and even then, not really romance, but birds mating. Then, after some centuries of an increasingly popular association between Valentine’s Day and romance came the development of cheap-to-mail paper Valentine’s Day cards and the birth of an American holiday in the mid-19th century.

It may not be fair to say that Valentine’s Day has its origin in antiquity, but there were romantic spring holidays (Gamelion and Lupercalia) and a St. Valentine or 2.

Valentine’s Day Saint #1:

There may have been a real Valentine, a 3d-century priest who defied Emperor Claudius II’s ban against wartime marriages. According to legend, Valentine performed secret marriages until he was discovered, put to death, and buried on the Flaminian Way. [See Oruch for why this doesn’t work historically.]

Valentine’s Day Saint #2:

There’s another legend in which a Valentine, persecuted for helping Christians, restored the eyesight of his jailer’s blind daughter, and then maintained a secret correspondence with her to which he signed his name “your Valentine.”

Another Derivation of Valentine:

Even more speculative is the notion that Valentine’s name was originally “Galantine,” signifying “gallant,” a word with more obvious associations with courtship. The shift in consonant to “v” is explained as the way medieval French peasants pronounced the letter “g.”

Valentine was a popular name among the Romans, with emperors named Valens and Valentinian.

Christianization of Lupercalia:

Another theory is that Pope Gelasius I replaced the pagan festival of Lupercalia with the Christian Feast of the Purification, which was celebrated on February 14, 40 days after Epiphany. This is based on Bede who wrote about pagan customs in February, and not specifically Lupercalia. Oruch says it wasn’t until the 16th century that the pagan ceremony of Lupercalia was said to be behind Candlemas (February 2).

February’s Special Holidays:

Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigit’s Day, The Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, Ground Hog’s Day, and Candlemas are all holidays that occur in the first half of February. Some believe the Christian holidays are simply renamed pagan ones.

References for Origins of Valentine’s Day:

  • “The Fashioning of a Modern Holiday: St. Valentine’s Day, 1840-1870,” by Leigh Eric Schmidt; Winterthur Portfolio Vol. 28, No. 4 (Winter, 1993), pp. 209-245.
  • “St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February,” by Jack B. Oruch Speculum, Vol. 56, No. 3. (Jul., 1981), pp. 534-565.

About.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tired Of Winter Yet? See If This Helps Beat the Winter Blues!

I always look through all my books during this time of year because I am bored. Every year, I keep coming back to this simple ritual. I do it and it gives me reassurance Spring is just around the corner. It will not only refresh your room, your soul but also you. I hope you try it and find it as useful as I have.

Winter Blue Banishment

Winters can be long and Spring can seem far away in February. Confined indoors by the cold and inhospitable weather, we can become depressed and lethargic. We neglect ourselves and leave a dusty and cluttered household. Despite that it lifts the spirits to clean out all the physical and mental cobwebs, we will find it hard to do this basic task. To start, simply choose one room, preferably. the room where you spend the most time. Burn some lavender incense. Smudge the corners of the room and yourself. Then open the blinds or drapes and call out:

“Go, snow, go. Come, Sun, Come!”

Keep the incense burning and with your broom walk deosil while  sweeping the ceilings. Chant:

“Sun and broom
swept the room.
Fill us with Spring perfume.”
 

Continue cleaning  from top to bottom. When the room is finished, take a deep breath and fill your lungs with the clean lavender scent. Envision your inner room as clean and full of Spring’s perfume.

Author:
Gail Wood
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Witches Magick for February 5th – Banishing an Evil Spirit

Celtic & British Isles Graphics
The Witches Magick for February 5th

Banishing an Evil Spirit

Items You Need:

bay leaves
cinnamon
rose petals
myrrh
white candles
paper and pencil

 

The Spell:

1. Crush any combination of the herbs and make into an incense to burn during spell

2. Burn white candles while doing the spell

3. Cast a circle

4. Invite deities and or elements

5. Either draw a pentagram on paper or in the air with your wand (for protection)

6. Visualize what you think the spirit looks like, then imagine a ball of white light forming inside of it and expanding until it makes the spirit explode.

7. Say:

“Begone evil spirit,
Begone from my life,
Begone from my house,
I want no strife,
Return to your master,
And bring them the word,
That I am untouchable,
Just like a swift, flying bird.

8. Imagine the spirit leaving you and going back to where it came from and exploding again.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Weather Lore for the Month of February

7rf%20W%2013

 

February Weather Lore

A wet February, a wet Spring.

Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail.

If Candlemas be fair and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.

If a hedgehog casts a shadow at noon, Winter will return.

“Février l’pu court éd chés moés, ch’est l’pire chint foés”.
February is the shortest month and by far the worst.

The Magickal, Mystical Month, February

Mystical Month, February

 

‘Oh, long, long

The snow has possessed the mountains.

The deer have come down and the big-horn,
They have followed the sun to the south
To feed on the mesquite pods and the bunch grass.
Loud are the thunder drums in the tents of the mountains.
Oh, long, long
Have we eaten
and dried deer’s flesh of the summer killing.
We are tired of our huts

and the smoky smell of our clothing.

We are sick with the desire for the sun

And the grass on the mountain.

Paiute Late Winter Song

The name February is believed to have derived from the name ‘Februa’ taken from the Roman ‘Festival of Purification’. The root ‘februo’ meaning to ‘I purify by sacrifice’.

As part of the seasonal calendar February is the time of the ‘Ice Moon’ according to Pagan beliefs, and the period described as the ‘Moon of the Dark Red Calf’ by Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt). February has also been known as ‘Sprout-kale’ by the Anglo-Saxons in relation to the time the kale and cabbage was edible.

 

It is a time when favourable colours to improve personal healing are amethyst, white and blue-violet (the colour of crocus). These are the colours often associated with winter whilst the delicate crocus and snowdrops, along with the scented carnation lend beauty and a glimpse of the fine weather to come in spring to a time of austerity.

The herbs and produce of the woodland too are closely connected, with nuts and cones, musk, marjoram and mimosa lending sweetness. As the second month of the winter calendar the holy thistle too reminds us of the link with winters rule and faith tested in times of extreme hardships. The fox and its brother on a distant shore the coyote find the ability to retrieve food in the harshest of environments. As we approach spring birds too are seen to be remembered with January, with the pheasant appearing from the hedgerow and the jay (and the blue-jay) taking to the wing as a sign of the skies and earth giving hope of insect life and nesting materials.

Metaphorical associations between the gospel writer ‘Mark’ and this period in the Celtic calendar known as ‘Imbolc’ which continues through to April. Mark was considered to be an ordinary man with incredible powers of communication evidenced in his writing which was thought of as colourful and exciting. The move between each story in the bible was seen to be swift and therefore was equated to the raging speed of the winds experienced at this time of the year. February is the first month of Imbolc, with the length of the day increases and with it the warmth and power of the sun, and the festival of ‘Candlemas’ (2 February) is central to both the Celtic and Christian beliefs.

The rhythms of nature are embodied in the woman, together with the ability to bring forth life. So the feast is associated with the potential fertility of the land, the preparation. In the Celtic church it is ‘Brigid’ (1 February) and in the Christian ‘St. Brigit’ (2 February) who personify these qualities. Both are associated with ‘Mary and motherhood’, ‘Gaia and the earth goddess’, the ‘motherhood of God’. This should be considered in connection with the astrological calendar, as here we see the symbol of the circle complete in ‘Pisces’ and the hope of life anew as we approach ‘Aries’, the end and the beginning, the old and the new, the death and the life. All indicate a higher spiritual awareness and growth. As a result the fish and the ram are important in animal mythology, although birds too have great significance as we approach the period of Easter

As part of the astrological calendar, February has many associations. This is the month of the house of

Aquarius (20 January – February 19) and the house of Pisces (20 February – March 20).

 

‘Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven,
Aquarius! To whom King Jove has given

Two liquid pulse streams ‘stead of feathered wings.’

John Keats

Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac and depicted as ‘Ganymede’, a youthful male water carrier, also known as the ‘God with Two Streams’. Ganymede became cup-bearer to the ‘Olympian Gods’, ruled over by ‘Zeus’, and borne to ‘Mount Olympus’ on the back of an eagle. Out of the carrier springs new wisdom, for the good of humanity. The ‘Age of Aquarius’, generally thought to commence around 2000 AD, is foreseen as one which will embody these qualities. It is also the subject of many predictions, some of which indicate Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ, one of major natural cataclysmic occurrences, and a shift in the earth’s axis. Yet the New Age is also the subject of excitement not because as it has been suggested the beginning of Aquarius will prelude either the weakening or strengthening of Christianity, but that with the new era comes a religion will be wholly embraced. So far this has been deemed to be one based on the now famous statement ‘Make love not war’. A desire to move away from materialism and violence is predicted to surface. There has, however, been extreme concern shown on the place of drugs in all this with some predicting that the New Age will signal no more than the beginning of a period not of reawakening but of sleep dictated by a drug induced delirium.

‘Uranus’ is the ruling planet of Aquarius bringing with it the qualities of revolution, change, unpredictability and disruption. Aquarius is a fixed and positive air sign associated with the statement ‘I am the embodiment of all that society needs or desires’, ‘I universalise’, and ‘I will change’. It rules the circulation and ankles. It is associated with the Ash, Birch, Cherry, Elder, Fig, Plum, and the Rowan, and with the flowers Apple, Lemon & Peach Blossom and Orchid. Colours associated with Aquarius are aquamarine, electric blue and turquoise tones. The main stone associated with Aquarius is Aquamarine. Lucky number is four, lucky day Saturday. Metals associated are aluminium and uranium.

 

‘There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.’

Pisces is the twelfth sign of the zodiac, symbolised by the ‘Fish’ and the Roman ‘God Neptune’, also known as ‘The Mystic’. The ‘Age of Pisces’ witnessed the birth of Christ and the glyph more often associated with the Christian religion was, for the first five to six hundred years, the fish.

This period is generally taken to have started before the birth of Christ, approximately 200 BC. The duration of the Age of Pisces has been calculated to be one-twelfth of 25,725 years, working out to 2,143. The figure most usually referred to though for calculating the length of the Equinox is 2,160 years. The ‘Age of Aquarius’ which follows Pisces in the precession of the Equinoxes is generally thought to start at the beginning for the new millennium, around 2000 AD. There is dispute over he exact date of the dawn of the New Age.

 

We can be sure that before Pisces was the Age of Aries, and before this the Age of Taurus, thought to be around 4000 – 2000 BC. The progress of the Ages follows the opposite path to the one most associate with the annual path of the zodiac. Within each period it is also clear that the symbol of the house has held much influence and importance, for example in ancient Egyptian mythology, the God Apis was highly revered during the Age of Taurus, with many cult groups taking the glyph of the bull to symbolise belief, obedience and respect.

The influence of Neptune is clear in the house of Pisces possessing the qualities of spiritual development, romance, lyricism, dreaminess, caring, perception and intuition. ‘Jupiter’ is the ruling planet of Pisces bringing with it a belief in the highest most positive powers of the universe.

As the last house before ‘Aries’, Pisces strives to find peace before death with the cosmos, which must be achieved in order to move on, hence the extraordinary evolution that can occur as the month progresses. It is seen to represent the last stage of life and the ability to approach imminent change with ease, as of course Pisces represents the ability to progress from the material to the spiritual world. Pisces is a mutable and negative water sign associated with the statement ‘I am in harmony, in unison with the mysteries of the universe’. It rules the feet. Pisces is associated with Angelica, Iris, Orchids, Violets and Water Lilies, as well as Mosses, Ferns, and Seaweed.

Pisces is further associated with any tree that grows close to the water’s edge, including the Weeping Willow and also the Alder, Ash, Dogwood and Fig. Colours associated with Pisces are silver, sea greens, mauve, purple and violet. The main stone associated with Pisces is the Amethyst, whilst the man stone associated with the month of February is the Aquamarine. Lucky number is seven, lucky day. Metals associated are germanium and strontium.

‘Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.’

William Shakespeare, Henry VI Part 2, Act III, Scene 1

Today’s Affirmation, Thought & Meditation for Thursday, February 16th

Thursday, Thirsty Thursday Pictures, Images, Comments, Graphics

Today’s Affirmation for February 16th

I have a body but am not my body. I have a mind but I am not my mind. I have thoughts but I am not my thought.

 

Today’s Thought for February 16th

“If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”

Dogen (1200 – 1253)

 

Today’s Meditation for February 16th

Restore Truth

Our ability to perceive truth is often distorted by our beliefs. To raise awareness of your beliefs, meditate on a recent situation. Try to identify the beliefs that led to your actions. Now cast your mind back to your early years to learn the origins of these beliefs – perhaps in the messages given by parents a teachers. The greater your awareness of distorting beliefs, the more you will be able to perceive the truth.

In a similar way, meditate on the actions of a colleague or partner to gain greater understanding of their behavior.

The Wicca Book of Days for Feb. 14th – Valentine’s Lovebirds

The Wicca Book of Days for February 14th – Valentine’s Lovebirds

Although February 14th is known as Saint Valentine’s Day and is dedicated to love and lovers, the Valentine who was canonized for having been martyred on account of his Christianity in ancient Roman times had no known connection with romance. It seems that Valentine’s name and patronage became confused over the millennia, and that the day’s association with love and romance arose from the widespread popular belief that birds began mating on this day. In England, it was said that if you were unattached, the first person of the opposite sex that you clapped eyes on on this day would become your husband or wife.

“The Lovers”

If you are not wooed tonight, you may find meditating on The Lovers, the sixth of the major-arcana. Tarot cards, thought-provoking. It portrays a pair of lovers, yet may be concerned with the dual options inherent in making any binding decision.