The summer solstice takes place on Wednesday 21st June and will mark the longest day – the high solar point of 2017. In times gone by fires would have been lit on hill tops to mark the highest point of the sun. For Druids the occasion is still special and will be considered a ritualistic time symbolising power, success and health. There are special incenses and herbs associated with this time of year – St John’s Wort, Elder, Fennel, Verbena, Chamomile and lavender. You can mark the occasion at home by lighting candles in orange or gold colours representing confidence and joy. (more…)
- On Palm Sunday (9th April), folk would gather hazel and in some cases would make the hazel twigs into crosses to be blessed by their priest. This plant was gathered specifically to guard against thunder and lightning.
- In many parts of the UK it is tradition to bake bread on Good Friday (14th April); many do it to protect against fire, but in coastal areas it is to protect against shipwrecks for loved ones working at sea, it is also thought of as a cure for many diseases. Traditionally the baked bread would be hung in the kitchen to keep it dry and from going bad, supposedly it would remain edible for a year without going stale or spoiling.
When I wrote this article Beyoncé had pretty much broken the internet, for what you might ask – announcing a performance at something big like the Super Bowl, dropping a new album unannounced, advising her fans of tickets going on sale for her concerts? No – in fact it’s because she is pregnant and with twins no less!
Beyoncé and Jay Z already have a daughter – Blue Ivy who is five years old, speculation was rife at the time that she did not carry the baby herself, perhaps using a surrogate. Which may in part explain why she has so publicly depicted this pregnancy with a series of nearly-nude photos. That of course has not stopped the rumour-mill going into overdrive with questions of whether she used IVF, to become pregnant, with many believing the chances are higher as she is having twins… (more…)
It is the perfect opportunity to give thanks for the things that have happened in our lives, and equally to say goodbye to the past in order to leave room to welcome in new opportunities and people into our lives.
In the UK the Spring or Vernal Equinox takes place on the 20th March 2017 at 10.28 GMT. Equinox of course stands for equal night and day, and the time marks the mid-point between winter and summer – Mother nature is re-born, the Sun God returns and brings with it fertility and new life. (more…)
If you didn’t see the first part of our post on November important dates, then click here first.
24th – Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a holiday many of us will be familiar with, but won’t actually celebrate, but there is a connection to England. In 1620 a ship called the ‘Mayflower’ set sail from Plymouth England with 102 passengers. Those passengers, who later became known as Pilgrims, left England as they had been persecuted for their religious beliefs. They landed in what is now known as Provincetown on Cape Cod in New England. They were able to follow maps of an English Captain called John Smith who explored the coast several years earlier. The Pilgrims really battled with winter, and nearly half the people were lost. But in springtime friendly Indians arrived and showed them how to plant corn, and the following autumn they were able to successfully harvest the crop and survive the winter months. So now the event is a celebration of that help received and of harvest festival. Americans take the holiday very seriously (in some cases more than Christmas) and cross the states to get home to celebrate with loved ones. (more…)
All Saints’ Day is sometimes referred to as All Hallows’ Day and it celebrates all faithful souls that have not been elevated to sainthood; they are prayed for and remembered. Halloween occurs the night before on the 31st October, and is seen as the last day that evil spirits have the chance to do their work, before good spirits take over on All Saints’ Day. All Souls’ Day honours those that have passed over; they pray and remember those souls who are in purgatory, so that they can be cleansed of their less grave sins and be granted vision of God in Heaven.
5th – Bonfire Night
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
We see no reason,
Why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot! (more…)
2016 brings in the Year of the Monkey, commencing on the 8th February 2016. If you didn’t see our first post on this topic – click here, we covered previous monkey years, things that will be lucky and unlucky for those born in Monkey years, as well as personality traits.
The characteristics that best match those of a Monkey are those born in the year of the Ox or Rabbit. The worst matches would be the Tiger or Pig. Other Monkeys and those born in the year of the Snake should be reserved as friends only. There are a lot of complementary factors with Rats, Dragons, Goats and Dogs, but a relationship would not be as plain sailing as with an Ox or Rabbit. (more…)
2016 brings in the Year of the Monkey, commencing at the beginning of Chinese New Year on February 8th. The animal sign of the monkey will run until the 27th Jan 2017, and then the next day begins a New Year and a change to the Rooster.
Previous Monkey Years have been:
1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 & 2004
Following 2016 the next Monkey cycle will be in 2028 (more…)
By reader Monique, PIN: 2321
Hands up who has ever made a list of New Year resolutions? Me!
Hands up who broke any or all of those resolutions? Me!
We put lots of pressure on ourselves every year to ensure we kick off the New Year with a fresh start with a view to bettering ourselves…So when we fail, are we bad people? No, are we complete failures? No, so why do we do it? (more…)
A star is often placed on the top of a Christmas tree to signify the light of the sun, or as a symbol of the nativity star that led the magi to Jesus. There were three contemporaneous events where Jupiter and Saturn formed a unification that might explain why the star that appeared above Bethlehem at Christ’s birth might have appeared brighter in the sky on that particular night.
Mistletoe usually grows on deciduous trees; it is a parasitic plant with evergreen leaves. It was a magical plant to the Greeks, Celts and Romans. In time gone by it even would have been used in animal’s drinking water to increase fertility! Perhaps there is some link there for how we think of it today as something to kiss under during Christmas time…Washington Irving is supposed to have said that young men had the privilege of kissing girls under ‘mistletoe kissing bushes’, which would be hung in a room where people would frequently pass. But each time a kiss took place a berry had to be plucked, and when all of the berries had been picked the kissing privilege ended. (more…)