Traditionally, on 23/24 April, in areas of Eastern Europe including Romania and Slovenia, people would celebrate ‘Green George’ (also known as ‘Zeleni Jurij’) where a young man would be covered in greenery, often birch and sometimes willow, to recognize the advent of spring and the springing of new life.
Celebrations would traditionally often center around a willow tree from which blessings, healings and protections were invoked.
In days gone by, Zeleni Jurij was celebrated differently in various parts of the region, but what the celebrations had in common was the persona of Zeleni Jurij himself: A young man covered entirely in birch branches, often additionally decorated with colored ribbons.
In some places, Zeleni Jurij went from house to house collecting money. Elsewhere, he rode to town on a white horse. In Črnomelj, Zeleni Jurij was paraded through the streets by singing young people who used ancient Slavic verses to interrogate this ancient harbinger of spring.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Zeleni Jurij – or at least his arboreal covering – was ceremonially thrown into the Lahinja River.
Whatever the details, the celebrations served as an important rite of spring. According to tradition, Zeleni Jurij spent the winter in the cold, dark underworld, and emerged in the springtime to bring warmth and fertility to the land — and mark the final departure of winter.
Zeleni Jurij has its origins in Slavic mythology, but with the arrival of Christianity, the celebrations merged with the mythology of St. George, a Christian martyr also associated with fertility. The pagan-Christian blend was not unusual, since early Christian missionaries often accepted elements of pagan beliefs only to combine them with Christian teaching. It was due to this Christian influence that Zeleni Jurij was eventually celebrated on St. George’s Day in April.
Because of increased communication and changing rural lifestyles, Zeleni Jurij celebrations began to disappear in the modern area, and most were gone by the early 20th century. In recent years, however, local enthusiasts have made an effort to preserve this part of Slovenia’s national heritage.
Each spring, the Slovenian President formally receives Zeleni Jurij and his entourage of young people. And each June, the town of Črnomelj organizes a Zeleni Jurij procession, bringing to life a rite of spring largely unchanged since the time when the Slavs first arrived in modern-day Slovenia.
Source: Slovenia Revealed
It was Christmas week in Oakland, 1990. Steven Bloom was wandering through The Lot – that timeless gathering of hippies that springs up in the parking lot before every Grateful Dead concert – when a Deadhead handed him a yellow flyer.
“We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais,” reads the message. Bloom, then a reporter for High Times magazine and now the publisher of CelebStoner.com and co-author of Pot Culture, had never heard of “420-ing” before.
Since then, April 20 has become an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Many such events have a political nature to them, advocating the liberalization / legalization of cannabis.
- Vivian McPeak, a founder of Seattle’s Hempfest states that 4/20 is “half celebration and half call to action”.
- Paul Birch calls it a global movement and suggests that one cannot stop events like these.
On this day many marijuana users protest in civil disobedience by gathering in public to smoke at 4:20 pm.
As marijuana continues to be decriminalized and legalized around the world, Steve DeAngelo, cannabis activist and founder of California’s Harborside Health Center, notes that “even if our activist work were complete, 420 morphs from a statement of conscience to a celebration of acceptance, a celebration of victory, a celebration of our amazing connection with this plant” and that he thinks that “it will always be worthy of celebration”.
The code often creeps into popular culture and mainstream settings. Nearly all of the clocks in the pawn shop scene in “Pulp Fiction,” for instance, are set to 4:20.
Pot smokers and cannabis lovers know that 4:20 is the time to smoke pot. They also know that 4/20 is international pot-smoking day. But not many people know why or how the number 420 became linked to pot smoking.
There are a few old tales which describe how this national holiday, and that special time of the day, became so iconic. Here’s everything we know about how 4/20 became more than a mid-April day.
You know who does know a thing or two about this? Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana. The most accepted root of the high holiday starts with some high school kids in San Rafael, California, back in 1971.
Calling themselves the Waldos, because their typical hang-out spot “was a wall outside the school”, the five students (Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich) designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 pm as their meeting time.
The phrase started as “420 Louis,” meaning “at 4:20 meet by the Louis Pasteur statue outside the high school” and get high. Soon it was shortened to 420, and became a catchall phrase for marijuanna consumption.
It turns out one of these kids, had an older brother, Patrick, who was friends with Grateful Dead’s bassist, Phil Lesh. Patrick also managed a couple of Grateful Dead sidebands, Too Loose To Truck and the Sea Stones; they featured not only Lesh but rock legend David Crosby and acclaimed guitarist Terry Haggerty. Patrick tells the Huffington Post that he smoked with Lesh on numerous occasions. He couldn’t recall if he used the term 420 around him, but guessed that he must have.
The kids started getting high with the Grateful Dead at their rehearsal studio in San Rafael. “The Dead,” recalls Waldo Dave Reddix, “had this rehearsal hall on Front Street, San Rafael, California, and they used to practice there. So we used to go hang out and listen to them play music and get high while they’re practicing for gigs.”
The Waldos also had open access to Dead parties and rehearsals partly because Mark Waldo’s father took care of real estate for the Dead. “We’d go with [Mark’s] dad, who was a hip dad from the ‘60s,” says Steve. “There was a place called Winterland and we’d always be backstage running around or onstage and, of course, we’re using those phrases. When somebody passes a joint or something, ‘Hey, 420.’
“So it started spreading through that community. But I think it’s possible my brother Patrick might have spread it through Phil Lesh. And me, too, because I was hanging out with Lesh and his band [as a roadie] when they were doing a summer tour my brother was managing.”
“I started incorporating it into everything we were doing,” High Times editor Steve Hager told the Huffington Post. “I started doing all these big events – the World Hemp Expo Extravaganza and the Cannabis Cup – and we built everything around 420. The publicity that High Times gave it is what made it an international thing. Until then, it was relatively confined to the Grateful Dead subculture. But we blew it out into an international phenomenon.”
Sometime in the early ‘90s, High Times wisely purchased the web domain 420.com.
One day in the Fall of 1971 – harvest time – the Waldos got word of a Coast Guard service member who could no longer tend his plot of marijuana plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station. A treasure map in hand, the Waldos decided to pluck some of this free bud.
The Waldos were all athletes and agreed to meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur outside the school at 4:20, after practice, to begin the hunt.
“We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis and we eventually dropped the Louis,” Waldo Steve tells the Huffington Post.
The first forays out were unsuccessful, but the group kept looking for the hidden crop. “We’d meet at 4:20 and get in my old ‘66 Chevy Impala and, of course, we’d smoke instantly and smoke all the way out to Pt. Reyes and smoke the entire time we were out there. We did it week after week,” says Steve. “We never actually found the patch.”
But they did find a useful codeword. “I could say to one of my friends, I’d go, 420, and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?’ Or, ‘Do you have any?’ Or, ‘Are you stoned right now?’ It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it,” Steve says. “Our teachers didn’t know what we were talking about. Our parents didn’t know what we were talking about.”
The Waldos never envisioned that pot smokers the world over would celebrate each April 20th as a result of their foray into the Point Reyes forest. The day has managed to become something of a national holiday in the face of official condemnation.
Officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder and University of California, Santa Cruz, pushed back. “As another April 20 approaches, we are faced with concerns from students, parents, alumni, Regents, and community members about a repeat of last year’s 4/20 ‘event,’” wrote Boulder’s chancellor in a letter to students.
“On April 20, 2009, we hope that you will choose not to participate in unlawful activity that debases the reputation of your University and degree, and will encourage your fellow Buffs to act with pride and remember who they really are.”
But the Cheshire cat is out of the bag. Students and locals showed up at round four, lit up at 4:20 and were gone shortly thereafter. No bands, no speakers, no chants. Just a bunch of people getting together and getting stoned.
Depending on who you ask, or their state of inebriation, there are as many varieties of answers as strains of medical bud in California. It’s the number of active chemicals in marijuana. It’s teatime in Holland. It has something to do with Hitler’s birthday. It’s those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied.
The origin of the term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20, has long been obscured by the clouded memories of the folks who made it a phenomenon.
- Some People Think Bob Dylan Has to Do With It
This one’s pretty simple. Bob Dylan’s got a song called “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” At some point, someone, presumably pretty stoned, was listening to ol’ Bob and realized that if you multiply 12 by 35, you get—you guessed it, 420.
Oh how nice this would be, to trace the high holiday back to one of the best artists to listen to while engaging in the devil’s lettuce. But alas, even though the song was recorded in 1966, well before the Waldos did their thing, it’s highly unlikely this is our one true source.
- There’s a Theory About the Actual Plant, Too
This one’s a shut and closed case, too. Although it has been stated that there are “more than 400 chemical compounds” in a cannabis plant, no one ever clearly stated that that number is 420.
- It’s Got Nothing to Do With Lawmen
This story was reported in a flyer: “420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late ‘70s. It started as the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. After local heads heard of the police call, they started using the expression 420 when referring to herb – Let’s Go 420, dude!”
That story referring to what police would say over the radio should they see you buying a baggie, is incorrect. Unfortunately that radio code is for homicide.
- The One About Congress?
Well, it’s not that the two aren’t related. In 2003, when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law voters had approved, the bill was named SB420.
“We think it was a staffer working for [lead Assembly sponsor Mark] Leno, but no one has ever fessed up,” says Steph Sherer, head of Americans for Safe Access, which lobbied on behalf of the bill. California legislative staffers spoken to for this story say that the 420 designation remains a mystery, but that both Leno and the lead Senate sponsor, John Vasconcellos, are hip enough that they must have known what it meant.
- More Crazy Ideas
The remaining theories around 420 are so wild we might as well not even go into detail. Some think it’s named after the day Bob Marley died, but he died on May 11.
Some think it has something to do with Adolf Hitler’s birthday, but why the hell would that mean anything? (Even if it is his birthday.)
Lastly, some stoned-off-their-ass person once said April 20 is the best day to plant marijuana, but that very clearly depends on where you’re planting it.
What Happened To The Waldos?
The Waldos say that within a few years the term had spread throughout San Rafael and was cropping up elsewhere in the state. By the early ‘90s, it had penetrated deep enough that Dave and Steve started hearing people use it in unexpected places – Ohio, Florida, Canada – and spotted it painted on signs and etched into park benches.
In 1997, the Waldos decided to set the record straight and got in touch with High Times. “We never made a dime on the thing,” says Dave, half boasting, half lamenting.
He does take pride in his role, though. “I still have a lot of friends who tell their friends that they know one of the guys that started the 420 thing. So it’s kind of like a cult celebrity thing. Two years ago I went to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. High Times magazine flew me out,” says Dave.
Dave is now a credit analyst and works for Steve, who owns a specialty lending institution and lost money to the con artist Bernie Madoff. He spends more time today, he says, composing angry letters to the SEC than he does getting high.
The other three Waldos have also been successful, Steve says. One is head of marketing for a Napa Valley winery. Another is in printing and graphics. A third works for a roofing and gutter company. “He’s like, head of their gutter division,” says Steve, who keeps in close touch with them all.
“I’ve got to run a business. I’ve got to stay sharp,” says Steve, explaining why he rarely smokes pot anymore. “Seems like everybody I know who smokes daily, or many times in a week, it seems like there’s always something going wrong with their life, professionally, or in their relationships, or financially or something. It’s a lot of fun, but it seems like if someone does it too much, there’s some karmic cost to it.”
“I never endorsed the use of marijuana. But hey, it worked for me,” says Waldo Dave. “I’m sure on my headstone it’ll say: ‘One of the 420 guys.’”
What Does “420-Friendly” Mean?
Whether you’re on a dating profile or looking for an apartment to rent on Craigslist, you’ll probably run into the phrase “420-friendly.”
Simply put, if someone is 420-friendly it means they are sympathetic to the cannabis cause and won’t make a big deal if you regularly consume cannabis. They may also consume marijuana.
Signs bearing the number 420 have been frequently stolen. In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation replaced the Mile Marker 420 sign on I-70 east of Denver with one reading 419.99 in an attempt to stop the thievery; however, the folklore of the 419.99 sign has caused it to be stolen, too, as well as becoming a tourist destination. As of August 2018, the sign was missing, presumed stolen.
The Colorado DOT usually will not replace signs that are repeatedly taken, but began the practice of replacing further down the road after “69” mile marker signs were frequently stolen – these were replaced with “68.5 mile” ones.
The Idaho Department of Transportation replaced the mile marker 420 sign on U.S. Highway 95, just south of Coeur d’Alene, with mile marker 419.9. The Washington State Department of Transportation implemented similar measures, but only replaced one of the two 420 signs in the state, with the remaining one being subsequently stolen.
According to The Washington Post, there are eleven 420 mile markers in the US, after three replacements and one stolen and not replaced. In Goodhue County, Minnesota, officials have changed “420 St” street signs to “42x St”. The mile marker 420 sign on U.S. Route 89, the only 420 marker in the state of Utah, is also frequently stolen.
Angel Number 420
Has number 420 become a norm in your life? Are you seeing it everywhere, all time? It may mean that the angels are trying to talk to you. If a certain number appears more than once, it may be a message from your guardian angels.
Angel number 420 is reminding you of your spiritual awakening. It is time to start your spiritual journey and be grateful for all the things that you have. Your angels will be with you even in the most difficult situation. When they send you number 420, it means that you can feel safe and protected. Your guardian angels are watching you and they are working in your favor. There is nothing that you should be worried about.
Most important is to have faith in your guardian angels because they will bring great changes in your life. Also, you have to be supportive toward other people. You have to know your soul mission and to be generous and helpful toward others. Very soon you will be rewarded for all good things that you have done in your life.
To sum up, when you see angel number 420, you should not just ignore it, but you should try to understand its meaning. There is no doubt that your angels are preparing you something good, wo you can certainly expect a lot of luck and success in the future.
Human beings have been appreciating sunshine from the beginning of time. Today, April 19, is Sunshine Day, a day dedicated specifically to the pure enjoyment of the warmth and light that comes from the Sun. The sun is moving out of the fiery sign of Aries and into earthy Taurus, and after a long winter, there is nothing quite like a clear, cloudless spring day when you can go outside and enjoy the sunshine.
Scientifically, sunshine or sunlight is the radiation that the sun gives off. Figuratively, the word is also used for cheerfulness, warmth, and happiness.
I just can’t stay inside all day
I gotta get out get me some of those rays
Everybody seems so happy today
It’s a sunshine day
Why Celebrate Sunshine Day?
The Sun is perhaps the most important influence in our lives. He heralds the coming of each new day, and lets us know that it’s time to get up and get going But more importantly, His appearance actually makes us feel like getting something done. In His light, we’re motivated to move about, grab our to-do lists, and become productive members of humankind ~ something crucial in today’s busy world, since no one I know can afford to waste a perfectly good day.
But the very sight of Him does much more for us than that. It just can’t help but make us smile. And that even goes for folks like me who aren’t morning people at all. There’s just something downright joyous about seeing the Sun light the world around us. The Sun lightens our moods, quickens our steps, warms our hearts, and just generally makes us happier people.
Those aren’t the only things the Sun does for us, though. He also contributes largely to our good health. how? By supplying our recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D, the very substance that helps the body to absorb calcium. And not only does the Sun manage this without effort on His part, He manages it without effort on ours. Only about ten minutes of sunshine per day does the trick ~ and we’re well on our way to having healthy bones and stronger bodies.
The Sun’s list of responsibilities goes on and on. He rules our calendar, starts each week by holding dominion over Sunday, and marks the comings and goings of the seasons in the cycles of His journey.
His position in the sky at the time of our births is responsible for our natal signs, and thus He is largely responsible for how the rest of the world views us.
He’s responsible for the blowing of the winds, the growth of the plants, flowers, and trees that populate the Earth and for the oxygen we breathe.
And even with all this stuff on His plate, He still finds time to entertain us with sunbeams, rainbows, sundogs, and the like. I’d say that he is a very busy star, indeed.
Taking all this into consideration, it’s little wonder that the Sun has managed to infiltrate our lives as a household word.
- We say happy people have a sunny disposition.
- We refer to those with freckled faces as being sun-kissed.
- Florida is known as the “Sunshine State.”
- Japan is known as the land of the “Rising Sun.”
- Scandinavia is the land of the “Midnight Sun.”
- We don sunglasses and sun hats, then head for the beach to sunbathe.
- We add sun porches to our homes, and have sunroofs installed in our vehicles.
- We also brew sun tea, order our eggs sunny-side up, and purchase Sunny Delight at the grocery store.
Even the realm of musical entertainment isn’t immune to the influences of that big, blazing, gaseous mass that warms our backs and lights our way. Remember these songs?
- You Are My Sunshine
- Here Comes The Sun
- Seasons In The Sun
- Waiting For The Sun
- Good Day Sunshine
- Let The Sunshine In
The Sun influences our lives in other ways, too. If it weren’t for the Sun, in fact, life as we know it would simply cease to exist. Without His warming presence, plant life would be nearly nonexistent. Vegetables would be limited to root crops like potatoes and carrots. And flowers? Well, they’d be a thing of the past as well, since even those that bloom at night need His light and warmth to bring them to bud.
But even if we could do without all those amenities, other problems would surface. Without sunlight, electric bills would skyrocket, and without warmth, so would heating bills. And there’s no way we could just go back to the basics of firewood and candlelight. Why? Because without the warming rays of the Sun, trees would be in short supply. And using them for heating, cooking, and melting wax would not only drive them to extinction, but would present a much larger problem: a total lack of oxygen to our planet. The Earth would be come a cold, dark, dank place. For all practical purposes, it would be virtually uninhabitable.
And yet we tend to take the Sun for granted. We simply expect it to rise each day and light the Earth. Maybe it’s not our fault, though. Since we live in such a modernized world, the magick of the Sun seems nothing less than commonplace. But no matter whose fault it is, such an attitude is also pure and unadulterated travesty ~ for the magick of the Sun is truly nothing less than miraculous!
Thinking About The Sun
I have been thinking about the Sun a lot, and a number of things have occurred to me.
- We can count on the Sun. It shows up every day… on time… as expected.
- The Sun shines on everyone, saints and sinners alike. It doesn’t matter if you are a good person, if you deserve the sunshine, or if you are a terrible person and don’t deserve it at all. The Sun is right there, shining.
- Even when we can’t see it, it’s there. Cloudy skies, storms, and rain? The Sun is still shining. Even at night, that Sun is still shining somewhere.
- The Sun is the Sun no matter what. We can complain that it’s too hot, or we can wish the days were longer, or shorter. We can throw temper tantrums, we can beg, we can cry, we can do ritual and ceremonies… and the Sun remains the Sun. It does not change it’s essential nature to suit our needs. It is what it is. No apologies ~ no regrets.
- The Sun is good. Yes, too much Sun can have a detrimental effect. But, in essence, the Sun is good. It gives us life, warmth, happiness, energy, Vitamin D. It shines. Some people really suffer from not enough Sun during the Winter months.
- Does the Sun worry about the future? I bet not! I don’t think it dwells on the past either. I can’t imagine the Sun is full of angst and regret, remorse and guilt, frustration and anger. I think the Sun is way too big, too powerful, too in the moment for that kind of thing.
- The Sun withholds nothing. Boom! There it is. The Sun. In all it’s glory. All of it. Not just some of it, or pieces of it… all of it. Right there in the sky. Shining.
- I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we love the Sun. We love it because it is, we love it because of what it does for us, we love it because we need it, we love it because we love shiny things… we have lots of different reasons to love the Sun.
I wonder what would happen if I was more like the Sun.
A Sun Meditation
At sunrise, sit facing the sun. Meditate on light, on the dawning of a new day. Ask yourself what it is you wish to bring into your life. Thank the sun for illuminating your path.
At sunset, watch the sun as it disappears over the horizon. Reflect on your day and the coming darkness.
- What shadow aspects of your being do you need to confront?
- What do you want to release, or complete in your life?
- What do you need to work on in your night dreams?
Give thanks and make an offering to Father Sun; receive his blessings and gifts.
Creating Your Own Sunshine
Just in case today is a rainy, stormy, or otherwise dreary day, I found this nice little article by Missy Haugen about how to create your own Sunshine. Enjoy!
Sunshine. To me, sunshine means warmth. It means happiness and smiles. When the sun is shining, many people are more pleasant to work with, more open to new ideas and more productive. It’s true, studies have proven that!
Years ago, after a drought of sunny days I challenged myself to find ways to spread sunshine even when there were clouds in the sky. One thing I tested out was seeing if the word ‘sunshine’ had similar affects as looking outside and seeing the sun shine and I found that it was true. When I talked about sunshine or asked people their plans for the next sunny day, people would smile.
This challenged me to take things a step further and see what else I could do to brighten people’s day. What I discovered was that whether it was a piece of chocolate, a short conversation at the drinking fountain, or a fun greeting when they arrive at work like “good morning, sunshine.” It brought out smiles. We were able to forget about the dreariness going on outside and enjoy the day.
What I learned from my challenge is that I can’t wait for the sun to shine in order to have a great day. There are many things that can bring out the sunshine on a cloudy day and I need to take things into my own hands. So, the next time the sun decides to hide out for a few days, try any of these tricks to bring a little light to everyone’s day:
- Tell a joke/laugh with those around you.
- Share a new recipe.
- Take the time to chat over a cup of coffee.
- Give a sincere compliment.
- Help someone out with a task.
These are just some things that can bring a little light to someone’s life. What are some things that you do to bring the sunshine when it’s dreary outside?
During the time of April showers, the watery month of the Willow Moon teaches you to release pent-up emotions and experience your grief. Tears are linked to healing and as you express difficult and painful feelings, you are able to purge yourself of subconscious fears, which would otherwise prevent you from reaching your dreams.
The Willow Moon offered a healing month to the Celts who literally spring-cleaned themselves in steamy saunas, known as sweat lodges, in readiness for the Beltane Festival at the start of May.
- Dates: April 15 – May 12
- Celtic Name: Saille
- Color: Silver
- Themes: Healing, growth, protection, women, nurturing.
- Language of Flowers: Mourning
- Qualities: Healing, Flexibility, Grace, Compassion
This month is the month for spells and rituals for growth, healing, nurturing, and magick related to the mystery of women. It is also associated with fertility, inspiration, protection, binding, and creativity. The willow tree was sacred to Crone aspect of the triple goddess in Celtic lore, and closely associated with the Cailleach (“old woman” in Gaelic).
The Willow Moon provides the perfect time to harness lunar power and energy for wishing, divination, healing, and protection.
Linked with the energy of the moon, the willow takes on a feminine-type energy of flow, flexibility and balance as well as gentle compassion and emotional sensitivity.
This month is the perfect time to perform lunar magic and to let go of the past. Cast energy to restore and nurture during the Waxing Moon and to release problems during the Waning Moon. Drinking more water will also help you to attune to the Willow Moon, and so enable you to connect to the tree’s watery magic.
Because the Willow is imbued with the power of the Moon, it has always been particularly linked with witchcraft. The traditional witches’ broom is bound with a Willow branch and lunar wands used specifically for Moon magic are made of Willow wood.
The Willow’s close ties to the Moon and tides also connects it to affairs of the heart. An old English tradition involved jilted lovers wearing a sprig of Willow in their hats, which originated from an ancient Willow charm to heal a broken heart.
Willow the Observer
According to the Celtic horoscope, people born under the sign of the Willow hold many aspects of the lunar realm. They tend to be highly creative and intuitive and often possess higher IQ. Willow signs understand cycles and know very well that everything that happens in your life can teach you a lesson. This Celtic tree astrology sign is patient and down to earth. Ivy and Birch signs can be a good match for the Willow sign.
Willow people have a lot of imagination, sometimes they like to daydream and they are able to understand exactly how other people feel. They are very good psychologists and they can use this ability for their advantage.
People born under the rule of Willow can enjoy life to the fullest; they know exactly what they need in their life and where to find it. From time to time these people become restless without reason and this restlessness forces them to change jobs, frequently move from one place to another and to make various other changes in their lives.
Despite their instability, they are very honest and principled under any circumstances. They literally shock others with courageous and honest acts that do not benefit them. Their adaptability and tolerance allows them to eat at one table with beggars or kings without having to pretend anything.
Willow people usually live a long life and they become respected elders. When they get old, the settle down and because of their rich life full of changes they become a rich source of inspiration for other people.
Willow Magick and Lore
Willows are often seen as gateway or boundary trees – the trees of the ‘in-between’ liminal places – on the banks of rivers and streams, between water and dry land. In ancient Celtic times, watery places were seen as sacred places – so willow trees were viewed as able to connect the world of humans with the mystical Otherworld.
Bees are very attracted to all kinds of willow trees for the pollen and were seen as messengers from the Otherworld.
In ancient Tibet, the willow was revered as the ‘world tree’ or ‘tree of life’. Because of its healing use by the wise women, the willow became known as the ‘witch’s tree’ and later as ‘witch’s aspirin’.
The willow is often linked to the Celtic ‘Morrigan’ or Morgana le Fay of Arthurian legend.
As well as healing, willow traditionally protects. Goat willow (Pussy willow) was known as Palm Willow and was commonly cut for Palm Sunday celebrations and carried to church. The Palm Willow was then kept through the year to protect the home against thunder, lightning, disease and other dangers.
Willow twigs would be placed around the hearth of the home and around crops or animals in garden and fields to protect these for the coming year. It is thought that the ancient Celtic Druids would use goat willow to make wands to give protection against evil.
The saying “knock on wood” or “touch wood” may have come from ancient customs of knocking on or touching a willow tree to bring good fortune and avoid bad fortune.
The Celts would use willow wood for coracles and boats and travelers and adventurers would set out with the protection of being in willow boats ‘over the ninth wave’ to seek their destiny.
Druids would sleep beneath willow trees to involve dreams of divination and Celtic priests would use cut willow for the same purpose. In Celtic tales of Manannan mac Lir, willow rods were used for divination.
Willows grow vigorously in spring and even a small twig or cut branch of willow, stuck into the ground, will quickly take root and grow into a young sapling. As such, the willow is seen to represent rebirth, new life, and vigor – including fertility. In fact, ancient Chinese tradition sees the willow as a tree of immortality for this very special ability.
Willow Moon Ritual
This Willow tree ritual should be performed outside and can be used to make a wish. or heart’s desire, come true.
At the time of the full Moon go to a shallow river or stream where willow trees grow. Stand with your feet in the water and hold your arms up towards the Moon. Visualize moonlight flooding your aura, filling your body with each breath. Recite this incantation:
“Lady Moon of wax and wane,
bring my wish and take my pain”
Perform an act of ritual purification by washing your hands in the water by the roots of the tree, Focus on your wish and tie a knot with string around a willow branch to seal it. When your wish comes true, untie the knot.
According to the English poet T.S. Eliot, April is a turning point, at which the past and the future are seen as one; when, in northern climes at least, Lilac bushes burst into bloom on dusty waste ground or beside railway tracks as the rain brings to life new growth.
- Theme: Beginnings
- Plant Energy: Daisy – for a fresh start and new projects.
- Crystal Power: Diamond – for clarity and empowering goals.
The month was named Aprilis by the Romans, but the origins of the name are still obscure. The traditional belief of its origin stems from the Latin verb aperire, “to open,” an allusion to trees and flowers beginning to open or to flower from buds.
Since some of the Roman months were named in honor of divinities, and as April was sacred to the goddess Venus, it has also been suggested that Aprilis was originally Venus’s mouth, from an ancient combination of her Greek goddess name, Aphrodite, to arrive at her springtime aspect as Aphrilis.
As the sun continues to make its way through the zodiac, it stays in Aries until about the 20th. The first part of the month is still about a feisty, “let’s get things done” energy. This period is about action and is filled with self-motivated people who are as self-centered and conceited as the fiery influence of Mars.
But as the sun moves across the cusp of Taurus, the energy changes to that of Venus. Venus rules Taurus, complementing this earth sign’s symbols of beauty, vanity, good looks, attraction, seduction, feminine wiles, and the concerns of the body and sexuality.
In the late Middle Ages throughout the fashionable European courts, favored sorcerers and witches concocted aphrodisiacs, potions, poisons, particularly in Aprils as it was thought to be a month auspicious for providing male heirs.
The tradition of celebrating virility, along with the magickal generation of sexual stamina and subsequent fertility, were themes based on the ancient fertility festivities of pagan Europe as the first of May approached.
The first few weeks of April were ruled by the virile Ram God, followed by the fertile Cow Goddess, both symbols of various pagan cultures and still invoked by modern day witches. This is why April is a month when desires quicken, the heat rises, and the tonic is needed to leave memories behind and start afresh.
Spells and rituals for April, therefore, tend to be all about moving on and beginning a new way of living, loving, or just being.
From: Spells For A Magical Year
There is a lot to celebrate in April. This is a list of pretty much everything that goes on during the fourth month of the year. Many of these dates change from year to year. The days that change are marked with this » symbol.
April Lore and General Info
Depending on which astrological system you adhere to, these are the signs that show up in April of 2021. Be aware that some of these dates will vary from year to year. Unlike the Sun signs which might just shift by 1 or 2 days, the dates of the various Moon signs will vary widely from year to year. The same holds true for the Chinese Zodiac. The Celtic Tree Signs are based on an arbitrary system and stay the same from year to year.
The April Sun begins in Aries and finishes up in Taurus:
The 2021 April Moon cycles through the signs as follows.
- Apr 1 – Apr 3 » Moon in Sagittarius
- Apr 3 – Apr 5 » Moon in Capricorn
- Apr 5 – Apr 7 » Moon in Aquarius
- Apr 7 – Apr 10 » Moon in Pisces
- Apr 10 – Apr 12 » Moon in Aries
- Apr 12 – Apr 15 » Moon in Taurus
- Apr 15 – Apr 17 » Moon in Gemini
- Apr 17 – Apr 20 » Moon in Cancer
- Apr 20 – Apr 22 » Moon in Leo
- Apr 22 – Apr 24 » Moon in Virgo
- Apr 24 – Apr 26 » Moon in Libra
- Apr 26 – Apr 28 » Moon in Scorpio
- Apr 28 – Apr 30 » Moon in Sagittarius
- Apr 30 – May 2 » Moon in Capricorn
You will notice that the Moon might begin the day in one sign and by the end of the day may have moved into another sign, so timing matters if you are wanting to be precise.
The Celtic Tree Signs in April:
- Mar 18 to Apr 14 – Alder Tree Month
- Apr 15 to May 12 – Willow Tree Month
The Alternative Celtic Zodiac is as follows:
- Rowan: April 1 – Apr 10
- Maple: April 11 – Apr 20
- Walnut: April 21 – Apr 30
The Chinese Calendar and Zodiac
We are currently in the year of the Ox (sometimes referred to as the Cow). Each Month is also assigned a specific animal. Here’s what shows up in April 2021.
- Rabbit: Mar 5 – Apr 3 (Chinese Zodiac – Stem Branch Calendar)
- Rabbit: Mar 13 – Apr 11 (Lunar Calendar – 2nd Lunar Month)
- Dragon: Apr 4 – May 4 (Chinese Zodiac – Stem Branch Calendar)
- Dragon: Apr 12 – May 11 (Lunar Calendar – 3rd Lunar Month)
Note: The traditional Chinese Astrology birth chart is built by the Chinese Stem Branch Calendar, not the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which I think is really confusing. Because of a difference in time zones, the lunar months will have different pattern between China and the USA
Lucky and Unlucky Days
You might want to plan moving, traveling, major purchases, court dates, and weddings around these dates, avoiding the unlucky days and utilizing the lucky ones.
- These are the lucky days in April:
6, 15, 16, 20 and 28.
- These are the unlucky days in April:
10, 17, 18, 24 and 25.
The tenth and the eleventh too,
Are ready death’s fell ‘work to do.
Holidays and Holy Days
Many of the holidays begin on the eve of the night before and end on the eve of the day of. It’s also important to remember that the dates of archaic festivals and feast days may vary widely depending on the source.
- 1: April Fool’s Day – All Fool’s Day
- 1: Loki’s Day
- 1: The Veneralia – the festival of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty
- 1 » Maundy Thursday
- 2 » Good Friday
- 2 » Lord’s Evening Meal
- 3 » Lazarus Saturday
- 4 » Easter Sunday – Easter Fires are lit
- 4 » Clear and Bright (Chinese Farmer’s Calendar)
- 4 thru 6: Cold Food Festival or Hanshi
- 4 thru 10: Megalesia – Celebrates the Mother of the Gods
- 5: Ching Ming – Tomb Sweeping Day (China) – sometimes falls on April 5
- 5: Lady Luck Day – the festival Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune
- 5 » Easter Monday – Dyngus Day
- 6 » Dakini Day (Tibetan)
- 6: Birthday of Mother Earth – Gudi Padwa also known as Gudi Padva, is the traditional New Year for the people of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
- 6: Fête of the Little Boats
- 6: National Tartan Day
- 6: Chakri Day
- 7 » Day of Ekadashi (Hindu)
- 8: Hana-Matsuri – Japanese Flower Festival to honor the Buddha’s birthday.
- 8: Geranium Day – England
- 14: Look Up At The Sky Day
- 14 » Galungan (Bali) – Represents the victory of Dharma (virtue) over Adharma (evil).
- 14 » Samjinnal – Korean holiday announcing the arrival of Spring
- 17: Mahavir Jayanti
- 18 » Go Fly A Kite Day
- 20 » Grain Rains (Chinese Farmer’s Calendar)
- 21: The Festival for the Pales Also held on July 7.
- 21: The legendary founding date of Rome.
- 22: Earth Day
- 22: Sham el-Nessim – Egyptian Holiday celebrating the first day of Spring
- 22: Festival of Ishtar
- 22: Yggdrasil Day
- 24 » Kuningan (Bali)- At the holy spring temple Tirta Empul, people partake in a ritual purification, bathing in the spring.
- 25: The Robigalia – the festival of Robigus, a Roman corn god.
- 26 » Boat Blessing – See also Chinese Dragon Boat Festival (June 14)
- 27 » Hanuman Jayanti – Birthday of the monkey God
- 28 thru May 1: The Floralia
- 30: May Day Eve – Walpurgisnacht
- 30: Beltane Fire Festival
- 30: Theravada New Year
- 30: Festival of Belenus – the Celtic god of fire and the sun.
- 30: Beltane (May Eve)
There is a surprising amount of magick associated with Saint days. This is a very short list of the Saint days in April, there are many many more. As time goes by I may end up listing them all, but for now, this is what I have.
Recipes For April
- Classic Krasnye Blini – Easter, Ostara, and the Vernal Equinox
- Simnel Cake – Easter, Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, and Mother’s Day
- Elderflower Fritters – Beltane, May Day, and The Floralia
- Farls – For Beltane – Beltane
Many more seasonal recipes, including recipes for new and full moon ceremonies, ancient Greek and Roman holidays, Asian festivals and etc can be found here: Seasonal Recipes.
Any April lore, almanac, astrological, and celebration dates that have been shared after this post was published can be found by searching the April posts to see what’s new.
A lot of work went into this post. It was compiled from various sources by Shirley Twofeathers for The Pagan Calendar, you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.
At the time of the Spring Equinox, or Ostara, the Alder is flourishing on riverbanks, roots in the water, bridging that magical space between both heaven and earth. The Alder month, called Fearn by the Celts, and pronounced fairin, is a time for making spiritual decisions, magic relating to prophecy and divination, and getting in touch with your own intuitive processes and abilities.
- Dates: March 18 – April 14
- Celtic Name: Fearn
- Themes: Spirituality, intuitiveness, decisions, divination.
Falling as it does at the start of spring, the month of the Alder symbolizes the reawakening of the Earth Mother’s fertility for another cycle.
The month of the Alder signifies a period of accelerated growth, and the energy your case during this time can aid in business or creative ventures you undertake, bringing your ambitions closer to fruition. Your emphasis should be on harnessing your hidden potential.
Focusing on the Moon’s influence during this month will also help you to being a sense of balance to your work. The power of the Alder Moon will be able to unite your intuitive side with a pragmatic approach to planning.
The month of the Alder is the ideal time to focus on balancing your life, setting new goals for yourself and working to achieve them with energy and enthusiasm. You can bring more balance into you life with the following tips:
- Check your bank balance.
Always overdrawn? Find four ways you can economize this month. Small symbolic steps let the powers of the universe know that you are ready for some big changes.
- Balanced Diet.
Are you eating a balanced diet? Remember that your body is a temple. Valuing yourself is the first step to getting what you want.
- Balance your emotions.
Take up Yoga or Tai Chi during the Alder Moon. The balance of spirituality and physical exercise stimulates feelings of well-being. Your improved posture will radiate poise and confidence to the outside world.
Alder the Trailblazer
If you were born during the month of the Alder, you are a natural-born pathfinder. You’re a mover and a shaker, and will blaze a trail with fiery passion often gaining loyal followers to your cause. You are charming, gregarious and mingle easily with a broad mix of personalities.
In other words, Alder signs get along with everybody and everybody loves to hang around with you. This might be because Alder’s are easily confident and have a strong self-faith. This self-assurance is infectious and other people recognize this quality in you instantly.
Alder Celtic tree astrology signs are very focused and dislike waste. Consequently, they can see through superficialities and will not tolerate fluff. Alder people place high value on their time, and feel that wasting time is insufferable. They are motivated by action and results.
Other character traits are: a mystic charisma, confidence and strong self-faith, a good focus on goals and ideas. Alders pair well with Hawthorns, Oaks or even Birch signs.
Magick and Lore
The Alder tree is also known as the King of the waters (with the willow tree as its Queen) because its natural habitat is near lakes, rivers and streams. Take your lead from the Alder tree, drink plenty of water and breathe deeply. You will find you have more energy to make your dreams come true this spring.
The Alder tree actually grows with its roots in the water and its branches in the air and for this reason is associated with balancing of female and male energies.
The Alder is commonly used in Faerie magick. It was believed to be an access point to the faerie realms. Alder flowers and twigs are known as charms to be used in Faerie magic. Whistles were once made out of Alder shoots to call upon Air spirits, so it’s an ideal wood for making a pipe or flute if you’re musically inclined.
The wood of the Alder is white when cut but soon starts to turn rusty red, a symbolic bleeding that has linked the trees to supernatural life. The colors of white and red have both been long associated with the Goddess and fertility. The buds of the Alder tree also grow in spirals that are a symbol of regeneration and a reminder of the cycle to come.
The wood also has an incredibly high burning temperature – the highest of any wood which would have been readily available within the British Isles or Ireland. This meant that it was highly prized for forging metal – the amazing Celtic jewelry and weapons would probably have been created in an Alder fire.
Chocolate Love Ritual
Perform this simple ritual with your partner to help your love grow stronger. You will need:
- A chocolate Easter egg
- A pin
- A red candle
Create a romantic setting in the room you wish to use for your ritual with soft music and scented candles. Sit facing your partner, look into each others eyes and breathe deeply.
Light the candle, then take it in turns to say these words to each other:
“Beneath this Alder Moon I offer my love to you,
may it grow ever stronger and ever clearer,
so mote it be.”
Both use the pin to scratch four things you love about each other onto the chocolate egg. Have fun feeding each other pieces of the egg. Let the red candle burn down. Your love will grow in the year ahead.
Yggdrasil Day is celebrated either on April 22 or on the last Friday in April. It is not an old Northern tradition nor an ancient pagan celebration, it is a fairly new holiday in the Neopagan tradition and an alternative to Arbor Day.
This day is a time to contemplate the place of humankind within the nine worlds, and to celebrate the blessings of nature, often shown by planting a tree. This is also a time to celebrate one’s culture, heritage, and spirituality.
Regardless of faith, Yggdrasil Day is a great opportunity for anyone to give back to nature and recognize our inter-dependency on both one another and the natural world.
Arbor Day is all about trees, and their importance here on our tiny blue world. I am not sure how many trees are planted on this day worldwide, maybe millions, but none can compare to the greatest tree that was ever planted, Yggdrasil. Arbor Day is another one of those secular celebration days that I have borrowed, and use to honor something, or someone, in our great pantheon of Gods and Goddesses.
Today for me is Yggdrasil Day. A day to honor our Great World Ash for all that it does and means to us Midgardians. If you consider it to be an actual tree, or just some cosmic force that holds the nine worlds together is a matter for a later discussion. Either way it is to us, who follow the Old Ways, the great tree of life that binds our nine world cosmology together as one cohesive structure.
Let us not forget also that we here on Midgard have another very strong connection to trees in our lore. I quote from Voluspa,
“Until three of the Aesir assembled there, strong and benevolent, came to the sea. They found on the shore two feeble trees, Ask and Embla, with no fixed fate.”
Gylfaginning finishes the story:
“And they picked these up and created men from them. The first gave them spirit and life, the second understanding and power of movement, the third, form, speech, hearing and sight. They gave them clothes and names.”
The Gods gave life to the trees, and mankind was therefore born. Voluspa gives us a wonderful description of the Great Ash Tree:
“There is an ash tree, its name is Yggdrasil. A tall tree watered from a cloudy well. Dew falls from its boughs down into the valleys. Ever green it stands beside the Norn’ s spring.”
The importance and sacredness to the Gods is shown in Gylfaginning when Gangleri asks : ” Where is the chief place, or sanctuary of the Gods? ” High One replies: ” It is by the ash tree Yggdrasil. There every day the Gods hold court. ”
The High One then goes on to give the best description of Yggdrasil.
“The Ash is the best and greatest of all trees, its branches spread out over the whole world and reach up over heaven. The tree is held in place by three mighty roots that spread far out. One is among the Aesir; the second among the Frost Ogres, where once was Ginnungagap; the third extends over Niflheim, and under that root is the well Hvergelmir. But Nidhogg gnaws at the root from below. Under the root that turns in the direction of the Frost Ogres lies the Spring of Mimir, in which is hidden wisdom and understanding. The third root of the ash tree is in the sky, and under that root is the very sacred spring called Urd. There the Gods hold their court of justice.”
The High One adds later on:
“There is a great deal to tell about it . In its branches sits an eagle, and it is very knowledgeable. Between its eyes sits a hawk called Vedrfolnir. A squirrel named Ratatosk springs up and down the Ash and conveys words of abuse between the great eagle and Nidhogg. Four harts leap about the branches of the Ash and eat the shoots. And along with Nidhogg there are so many serpents that no tongue can count them.”
Yggdrasil is the cosmic World tree, and Ash tree, that binds this world to the others, to the world of the gods, of the spirits and ancestors, it is the symbol of our union with nature. In Nordic mythology, it was an ash tree known as Yggdrasil, the cosmic tree that symbolizes the center of the world, that Odin hung for nine days and nine nights in trance, received the sacred knowledge of runes, the Elder Futhark.
Yggdrasil has always played an important role in the lives of the Northern people of Europe. We have all came from nature and we will all return to it one day, so at this day we honor the forces of nature and we will always remember how important is to protect the world we live in.
Trees are the lungs of our world just has it is Yggdrasil in the Nordic cosmology, it is the shelter that gives us peace and protection, it is the spiritual path of the Gods and of our ancestors, the way which leads to the other worlds. And so as nature gives us these gifts, in turn we must honor it, and because a gift calls for a gift, in turn we must give to nature our protection, our care and our respect. In this day you should plant a tree, you should become the protector of those who have given you shelter, fight against the evils that are corrupting our natural world.
Celebrating Yggdrasil Day:
I honor the Great World Ash Yggdrasil every year on Arbor Day, the last Friday in April, with a full ritual, and by placing a new Valknut, Thor’s Hammer, or rune stone necklace on the branches of my artificial 6 ft. white ash tree that I have sitting next to Odin’s altar in my living room. I think it is very appropriate that the Great Ash sits next to the All – Father’s altar because of his many connections to Yggdrasil. I do not celebrate Christmas so to me this wonderful 6 ft. ash tree, with all its shining jewelry hanging in the branches, evokes the same emotions of joy and wonder that I used to experience as a child on Christmas morning.
The best thing is I get to experience it 365 days a year because I never take down the tree. It honors me with its presence, and I honor it with my presents, day after day, year after year. I found the 6 ft. ash at Amazon. com for about $ 300.00. It was definitely worth the money !
This year I am going to present the Great Ash with a very special gift that I found at the Scandinavian Festival last year. It is a beautifully carved Thor’s hammer. This white Thor’s hammer is hand carved out of bone, and has beads on either side of the Hammer. It looks kind of tribal ! It will make a beautiful addition to the dozen or so necklaces already hanging in its holy branches.
Coming just a week after Jord’s Day, ( Earth Day ), it is fitting to have a day to honor Yggdrasil, and to re- seed the earth with seedling trees. Planting trees is not only a great way to honor Mother Jord, and Yggdrasil, but it is also a wonderful gift for future generations of mankind. I cannot imagine a world without trees, and there would be no nine world universe without Yggdrasil the Great Nine World Ash!
More about the Ash Tree
The Ash tree – Fraxinus Excelsior is also known as guardian tree in all of Europe. With the exception of the Mediterranean region, this tree can live till three hundred years. Its leaves appear after its flowers and this strange detail led this tree to be know as the “Venus of the woods”. Its roots penetrate deeply into the ground causing difficulty to other kinds of vegetation to grow in there. Due to the hardness of its wood, it has been widely used for the manufacture of lances and tool handles. Thus it is possible that the name of this tree in English, derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Asec, which means “Ritual Spear.”
Celtic Druids once used the wood of these trees, to make their rods and staffs.
Traditionally the yule log (At the winter solstice) is of ash tree, this is because it is one of the few woods that can burn immediately, even though it is still green, and offers an excellent and long-lasting illumination.
The Icelandic word Aske, which has similarities with Ash, means “fire with large flame.” This tree is also sacred to the gods Thor and Odin.
Go Fly A Kite Day
“Go fly a kite” is an idiom that is used as a way of telling someone to go away or to leave you alone. The phrase originated in the 1940s and was very popular at that time and for the next few decades. Its meaning is derived from its literal meaning: a person would probably need to go away to actually fly a kite. A similar phrase is “Go jump in a lake.” In these phrases, the important word is “go,” not the place where the person is directed to go. Another idiom with a similar meaning is “Get lost.”
Go Fly a Kite Day is observed next on Sunday, April 21st, 2019. It has always been observed the third Sunday in April.
National Look Up At The Sky Day is celebrated annually on April 14 (some calendars have it listed as April 12). On this day we all hope for good weather and look to the skies to reflect on the beauty above us.
There are many things that you can see as you sit back, relax and look up. The sky’s beautiful blue color, the clouds and their many shapes, the sun (maybe peeking through the clouds), and many different birds flying around. If it is nighttime, you may find the sky filled with stars and a beautiful moon.
It’s a busy time of the year. Spring is arriving, people are upping their workout regimes in order to get ready for summer, the newness of the new year has worn off and we are all buckling in, and in the US it’s tax season. This is a perfect day to stop and look up at the sky. Take a moment and enjoy your surroundings and just breathe.
The creators of this holiday remain anonymous, but their goal is very clear: to encourage people to take a little time to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. People who spent a lot of their time looking at the sky include Nicholas Copernicus, who proved the earth revolved around the Sun (and not the other way around as previously thought) Albert Einstein, the creator of the Theory of Relativity, and Leonardo da Vinci, who envisioned the first flying machines, so rest assured you will be in the best of company!
How to Celebrate Look Up at the Sky Day
As the name of this little holiday itself suggests, take some time to look up at the sky! We sometimes take natural beauty for granted, and only pay attention to the sky if, say, it happens to be raining and we want to complain. So take a blanket out to the park and just lay down on it and gaze upwards for a while—you’re likely to be amazed at how it changes depending on wind and other factors.
Watching birds go abut their lives as if nothing of importance was going on down below at all will likely be relaxing, and watching planes soaring high above you may even motivate you to take a trip to some faraway land. Look Up at the Sky Day was created to motivate us to see the world from a different perspective than we usually do and appreciate the beauty of nature, so make sure you get out and celebrate and make your life just a little bit more meaningful!
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