Farming and Husbandry

Today (April 12) is the first day of the Ludi Cereales, another spring vegetation festival, this one in honor of the goddess Ceres, goddess of grains and cereal crops. It lasts for eight days, and like the Megalesia before it, the Cerealia culminates on its final day.

During Roman times, one of the symbolic rituals of the final day was the release of foxes into the Circus with flaming brands attached to their tails despite the fact that Ceres is notoriously a peaceful goddess and most often accepts offerings of spelt cakes and salt, as well as incense.

In the countryside, people offer milk, honey, and wine on the Cerealia (particularly the final day), after bearing them thrice around the fields.

More About This Festival

Ceres is the Goddess of agriculture, and was credited with the discovery of spelt wheat, the yoking of oxen and ploughing, the sowing, protection and nourishing of the young seed, and the gift of agriculture to humankind; before this, it was said, man had subsisted on acorns, and wandered without settlement or laws. She was the first to “break open the earth”, and all activities of the agricultural cycle were protected by her laws. She held the power to fertilize, multiply and fructify plant and animal seed, whose offspring were the physical incarnations of her power.

Her first plough-furrow opened the earth (Tellus’ realm) to the world of men and created the first field and its boundary; she thus determined the course of settled, lawful, civilized life. She mediated between plebeian and patrician factions. She oversaw the transition of women from girlhood to womanhood, from unmarried to married life and motherhood and the growth of children from infancy. Despite her chthonic connections to Tellus, she was not, according to Spaeth, an underworld deity. Rather, she maintained the boundaries between the realms of the living and the dead.

Given the appropriate rites, she would help the deceased into afterlife as an underworld shade (Di Manes): otherwise, the spirit of the deceased might remain among the living as a wandering, vengeful ghost.

The goddess was worshiped in many ways. There was the porca praecidanea, which involved sacrificing a fertile female pig and was necessary before a harvest. Cato indicates that sacrifices of any large food item will do, however, and suggests a pumpkin as an acceptable substitute for a pig, since it can be cut open and the seeds offered to Ceres in much the same way the entrails of the pig would be. After the offering of the porca praecidanea, it was customary to also give the goddess a libation of wine.

The poor could offer wheat, flowers, and a libation. The expectations of afterlife for initiates in the sacra Cereris may have been somewhat different, as they were offered “a method of living” and of “dying with better hope”.

Ceres’ major festival was the Cerealia – the ludi cereales, culminating on April 19 to celebrate the growth of grain and other agricultural products. Its original form is unknown; it may have been founded during the regal era. During the Republican era, it was organised by the plebeian aediles, and included ludi circenses (circus games). These opened with a horse race in the Circus Maximus, whose starting point lay just below the Aventine Temple of Ceres, Liber and Libera. In a nighttime ritual after the race, blazing torches were tied to the tails of live foxes, who were released into the Circus. The origin and purpose of this ritual are unknown; it may have been intended to cleanse the growing crops and protect them from disease and vermin, or to add warmth and vitality to their growth

Religiously, the purpose of the races and the games were to make the goddess favorably disposed toward the Roman people, so that she would give them a good harvest.

Visual depictions of Ceres were largely derived from Greek portrayals of Demeter. On two coin types, a bust of Ceres was pictured on one side, while a yoke of oxen was on the other. On other coins, she wears a crown of grain stalks called a corona spicea, holds stalks of wheat, and is occasionally pictured with wheat and barley grains. One coin actually portrayed her wearing a modius, an instrument used to measure grain, on her head. Another pictures a bust of series on one side, and a pair of seated male figures with a wheat stalk to their side on the other. The seated men represent the official distribution of grain to the people. Annona, the goddess who personified the wheat supply, appears alongside Ceres on several coins from the imperial period. Reliefs from the Augustan period have even gone so far as to depict her as a plant growing out of the ground. In one her bust emerges from the earth, holding bunches of poppies and grain in her upraised hands while two snakes twine about her arms.

Ceres also assimilated the visual symbols of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which most Romans observed in her name. Ceres is depicted with symbols of the Mysteries, such as riding in a chariot drawn by snakes while holding a torch in her right hand.

Persephone’s Return ~ A Ritual For The Cerelea

Most often celebrated on the last day of the Ludi Cereales (or April 19).

  • Color: Green
  • Element: Earth
  • Offering: Flowers. Begin something new.
  • Daily Meal: Dark, coarse bread. Root vegetables. Poppy seeds. Millet. Nuts and seeds.

Altar: Upon a green cloth set as many spring flowers as possible, a bowl of earth saved from the day of Persephone’s descent, and the figure of a girl’s head emerging from the earth.

Invocation to Persephone’s Return

Let the Earth take joy!
Demeter’s heart is warmed,
For her beloved daughter,
The maiden of Spring,
Has returned to the upper world!

Let all upon the Earth take joy!
Flowers spring from her footsteps,
Grass spreads between her toes,
The promise of the summer wind
Falls like butterflies newly loosed
From her hair the color of poppies and clay.

Let us all take joy!
She who descended in the autumn,
She who is married to Death
And yet arises in the bringing of Life,
She who has passed the bodies
Of a thousand corpses,
She who has sung with the shades
Of a thousand ancestors,
She rises to greet the morning sun
For as long as it is her time.

Then, like all things, she will descend again,
Into the depths of the Earth,
And we, we shall learn to love that cycle
Of rising and falling, of birth and death,
And truly call it a blessing.

Chant:

Kore Kore Kore Proserpina

Let one chosen for the work of the daily ritual carry the bowl of earth from person to person about the hall, and let each one take a bit of the earth and rub it on their faces, and let it remain until the evening ablutions.

~Info collected from various sources, including the Pagan Book of Hours

Tu Bishvat occurs on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. In 2019, this date falls on January 20. Tu Bishvat (Tu B’Shevat), also called “Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot” (New Year of the Trees) is kind of like a birthday for all trees. Trees planted before this day, even by one day, will turn a year older on Tu Bishvat. Traditionally fruit from trees may not be eaten for the first four years, so the age is important.

Here are some simple ways to celebrate The New Year of the Trees

  • Pick fresh fruits and vegetables at a local farm.
  • Plant trees, seeds, or start an herb garden.
  • Build a birdhouse to hang in a tree.
  • Eat the seven significant species of the land of Israel: wheat, grapes, barley, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
  • Organize a park clean-up to collect litter.
  • Make something for your home with reclaimed wood.
  • Take some time to research your own ancestry and assemble your family tree.
  • Commit to recycling paper goods. If you don’t already have one, get a separate bin and you’re all set!
  • Host a Tu B’Shevat Seder.

In the 16th century, the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed developed a Tu Bishvat seder. The fruits and trees of Israel were given symbolic meaning. Eating ten specific fruits and drinking four cups of wine in a specific order while reciting blessings would bring people and the world closer to spiritual perfection.

How to Lead a Tu Bishvat Seder

Set up your table as for Passover: white or other nice tablecloth, good dishes, flowers, wine, and juice. There is no requirement to light candles, but scented candles add a nice touch and a festive glow. Either one person can lead the seder, reciting each reading and making the blessings, or everyone can take turns.

The directions concerning which fruit to locate and the mix of the wines should be read aloud. As each piece of fruit and each cup of wine is being considered and blessed, that object is held by the reader. After each blessing, the participants taste the fruit or sip the wine.

Hand Washing

Fill a large bowl with flower-scented water and float a small cup in it. Carry the bowl from person to person or set up a washing station in a corner. Feel how nice it is to place your hands over the bowl and have someone pour warm water over your fingers. Have towels ready.

Say this blessing

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav,
v’tzivanu al netilat yadayim.

Blessed are You,
Source of all life,
Who commands us to ritually wash our hands.

Note:  Some may choose to forego this blessing, since it is traditionally recited upon washing the hands before eating bread, which is not eaten here.

First reading

Reader: And God said: Let the earth put forth grass, herb-yielding seed, and fruit-tree-bearing fruit after its own kind, wherein is the seed thereof, on the earth. (Genesis 1:11)

Reader: In the 16th century in northern Israel, in the spiritual town of Tzfat (Safed), the Jewish mystics created the Tu Bishvat seder. They recognized the many and varied dimensions of God’s creation and used the fruits of Israel to symbolize their existence.

The First Cup of Wine

This cup of white wine or grape juice symbolizes winter and the mystical dimension of atzilut, or emanation, at which God’s energy infused the creation process with initial life.

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam borei peri ha-gafen.

Blessed are you,
Source of all life,
Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Reader: For Adonai your God is bringing you into a good land. A land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths springing forth in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land wherein you shall eat without scarceness, you shall not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you may dig brass. And you shall eat and be satisfied, and bless God for the good land, which is being given unto you (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).

The First Fruit

Fruit that is hard on the outside and soft on the inside, such as walnuts, coconuts or almonds. The hard shell symbolizes the protection that the earth gives us and reminds us to nourish the strength and healing power of our own bodies.

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
borei peri ha-etz.

Blessed are You,
Source of all life,
Creator of the fruit of the tree.

The Second Cup of Wine

This cup of wine or grape juice is mostly white, with a little red mixed in, to symbolize the passing of the seasons and the mystical concept of formation and birth, often associated with water.

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
borei peri ha-gafen.

Blessed are You,
Source of all life,
Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Reader: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall you be in the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your land, and the fruit of your cattle, and the young of your flock. Blessed shall you be in your basket and your kneading trough. Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out (Deuteronomy 28:36).

The Second Fruit

This fruit is soft with a pit in the center — olives or dates [or peaches, apricots, etc.] — and symbolizes the life-sustaining power that emanates from the earth. It reminds us of the spiritual and emotional strength that is within each of us.

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
borei peri ha-etz.

Blessed are You,
Source of all life,
Creator of the fruit of the tree.

The Third Cup of Wine

This cup of wine is mostly red with a little of white mixed in and symbolizes once again the change of seasons and the mystical concept of beriah, or creation.

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
borei peri ha-gafen.

Blessed are You,
Source of all life,
Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Reader: Then God formed the human from the dust of the ground, and breathed into the nostrils the breath of life; and the human became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

The Third Fruit

This fruit is soft throughout and is completely edible, such as figs, grapes, and raisins. This type symbolizes God’s omnipresence and our own inextricable ties with the earth.

Barukh ata Adonai,
Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,
borei peri ha-etz.

Blessed are You,
Source of all life,
Creator of the fruit of the tree.

Serve a Vegetarian Dinner

A favorite is vegetarian lasagna and noodle kugel with fruit. Eat other exotic fruits that are placed around the table.

The Fourth Cup of Wine

This cup is all red, symbolizing the mystical concept of fire and the idea that within all living things dwells a spark of God.

Reader: And the angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and Moses looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed (Exodus 3:2).

The Fourth Fruit

This has a tough skin on the outside but sweet fruit within–mangos, bananas, avocados, or sabra, a desert pear–and symbolizes the mystery of the world and our study of Torah. We are constantly seeking to uncover her secrets, and are continually nourished by her fruits.

Sources:

The best days listed here are based on both the phase of the moon and its position in the zodiac. Many people believe that if you do the tasks on the dates listed, you will get the best results possible.

January

  • Cut Firewood: 5 – 20
  • Dig Holes: 5 – 20
  • Dig Post Holes: 21
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 5 – 20
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1, 4, 21 – 31

February

  • Cut Firewood: 4 – 18
  • Dig Holes: 4 – 18
  • Dig Post Holes: 3
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 4 – 18
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1 – 3, 19 – 28

March

  • Cut Firewood: 6 – 19
  • Dig Holes: 6 – 19
  • Dig Post Holes: 2 – 4, 29
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 6 – 19
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1 – 5, 20 – 31

April

  • Cut Firewood: 5 – 18
  • Dig Holes: 5 – 18
  • Dig Post Holes: 26, 27
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 5 – 18
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1 – 4, 19 – 30

May

  • Cut Firewood: 4 – 17
  • Dig Holes: 4 – 17
  • Dig Post Holes: 3, 23 – 25, 31
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 4 – 17
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1 – 3, 18 – 31

June

  • Cut Firewood: 3 – 16
  • Dig Holes: 3 – 16
  • Dig Post Holes: 1, 19 – 21, 27, 28
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 3 – 16
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1, 2, 17 – 30

July

  • Cut Firewood: 2 – 15, 31
  • Dig Holes: 2 – 15, 31
  • Dig Post Holes: 17, 18, 24 – 26
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 2 – 15, 3
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 1, 16 – 30

August

  • Cut Firewood: 1– 14, 30, 31
  • Dig Holes: 1– 14, 30, 31
  • Dig Post Holes: 21, 22, 27, 28
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 1– 14, 30, 31
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 15– 29

September

  • Cut Firewood: 1– 13, 28 – 30
  • Dig Holes: 1– 13, 28 – 30
  • Dig Post Holes: 14, 15, 21, 22
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 1– 13, 28 – 30
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 14 – 27

October

  • Cut Firewood: 1 – 12, 27 – 31
  • Dig Holes: 1 – 12, 27 – 31
  • Dig Post Holes: 14, 15, 21, 22
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 1 – 12, 27 – 31
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 13 – 26

November

  • Cut Firewood: 1 – 11, 26 – 30
  • Dig Holes: 1 – 11, 26 – 30
  • Dig Post Holes: 12, 17, 18
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 1 – 11, 26 – 30
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 12 – 25

December

  • Cut Firewood: 1 – 11, 26 – 31
  • Dig Holes: 1 – 11, 26 – 31
  • Dig Post Holes: 14 – 16
  • Mow To Increase Growth: 1 – 11, 26 – 31
  • Mow To Slow Growth: 12 – 25

Source: The Farmer’s Almanac

Moon phase gardening is an idea as old as agriculture, popular in folklore and superstition. Planting by the phases of the moon maintains a rhythm with the alternating gravitational pull of the moon. (Read more at Gardening By The Moon). The best days for gardening by the moon in 2019 are as follows:

January

  • Plant above ground crops: 5, 6, 9 – 11, 14, 15, 18, 19
  • Plant root crops: 1, 4, 24 – 28, 31
  • Transplant: 1, 27, 28
  • Plant seed beds: 1, 18, 19, 27, 28
  • Plant flowers: 18, 19, 24 – 26
  • Kill plant pests: 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20 – 23, 29, 30
  • Harvest: 2, 3, 29, 30
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 2, 3, 21, 29, 30
  • Prune Trees: 1, 4, 27, 28, 31

February

  • Plant above ground crops: 5 – 7, 10 – 12, 15, 16
  • Plant root crops: 1, 2, 21 – 24, 28
  • Transplant: 23, 24
  • Plant seed beds: 15, 16, 23, 24
  • Plant flowers: 15, 16, 21, 22
  • Kill plant pests: 3, 4, 8, 9, 13, 14, 17 – 20, 25 – 27
  • Harvest: 3, 26, 27
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 25 – 27
  • Prune Trees: 1, 2, 23, 24, 28

March

  • Plant above ground crops: 6, 10, 11, 14, 15
  • Plant root crops: 1, 5, 20 – 24, 27, 28
  • Transplant: 5, 22 – 24
  • Plant seed beds: 14, 15, 22 – 24
  • Plant flowers: 14, 15, 20, 21
  • Kill plant pests: 2 – 4, 7 – 9, 12, 13, 16 – 19, 25, 26, 29 – 31
  • Harvest: 2 – 4, 29 – 31
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 25 – 26
  • Prune Trees: 1, 22 – 24, 27, 28

April

  • Plant above ground crops: 6, 7, 10 – 12, 17, 18
  • Plant root crops: 1, 2, 19, 20, 23 – 25, 28 – 30
  • Transplant: 1, 2, 19, 20, 28 – 30
  • Plant seed beds: 10 – 12, 19, 20
  • Plant flowers: 10 – 12, 17, 18
  • Kill plant pests: 3 – 5, 8, 9, 13 – 16, 21, 22, 26, 27
  • Harvest: 3, 4, 26, 27
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 3, 4, 21, 22
  • Prune Trees: 19, 20, 23 – 25

May

  • Plant above ground crops: 4, 8, 9, 14 – 17
  • Plant root crops: 3, 21, 22, 26, 27, 31
  • Transplant: 3, 26, 27, 31
  • Plant seed beds: 8, 9, 16, 17
  • Plant flowers: 8, 9, 14, 15
  • Kill plant pests: 1, 2, 5 – 7, 10 – 13, 18 – 20, 23 – 25, 28 – 30
  • Harvest: 1, 2, 28 – 30
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 1, 2, 18 – 20, 28 – 30
  • Prune Trees: 21, 22

June

  • Plant above ground crops: 4, 5, 10 – 14
  • Plant root crops: 1, 17, 18, 22, 23, 27, 28
  • Transplant: 1, 22, 23, 27, 28
  • Plant seed beds: 4, 5, 13, 14
  • Plant flowers: 4, 5, 10 – 12
  • Kill plant pests: 2, 3, 6 – 9, 15, 16, 19 – 21, 24 – 26, 29, 30
  • Harvest: 2, 25, 26, 29, 30
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 24 – 26
  • Prune Trees: 17, 18

July

  • Plant above ground crops: 2, 8 – 11, 14, 15
  • Plant root crops: 1, 16, 19 – 21, 24 – 26, 29
  • Transplant: 1, 19 – 21, 24 – 26, 29, 30
  • Plant seed beds: 1, 2, 10, 11, 29, 30
  • Plant flowers: 1, 2, 10, 11, 29, 30
  • Kill plant pests: 3 – 7, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 23, 27, 28, 31
  • Harvest: 27, 28
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 22, 23
  • Prune Trees: 16

August

  • Plant above ground crops: 4 – 7, 11, 12, 31
  • Plant root crops: 30
  • Transplant: 15 – 17, 21, 22, 25, 26
  • Plant seed beds: 6, 7, 25, 26
  • Plant flowers: 4, 5, 25, 26, 31
  • Kill plant pests: 1 – 3, 8 – 10, 13, 14, 18 – 20, 23, 24, 27 – 30
  • Harvest: 23, 24, 27 – 29
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 18 – 20, 27, 28
  • Prune Trees: No good days

September

  • Plant above ground crops: 1 – 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 28 – 30
  • Plant root crops: 15 – 17, 21, 22, 25, 26
  • Transplant: 17, 18, 22, 23
  • Plant seed beds: 2, 3, 22, 23, 30
  • Plant flowers: 1, 22, 23, 28, 29
  • Kill plant pests: 4 – 6, 9 – 11, 14 – 16, 19 – 21, 24 – 27
  • Harvest: 21, 24 – 27
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 14 – 16, 24, 25
  • Prune Trees: No good days

October

  • Plant above ground crops: 1, 4, 5, 9 – 11, 27, 28, 31
  • Plant root crops: 17, 18, 22, 23
  • Transplant: 14, 15, 19, 20
  • Plant seed beds: 1, 19, 20, 27, 28
  • Plant flowers: 19, 20, 25, 26
  • Kill plant pests: 2, 3, 6 – 8, 12, 13, 16 – 18, 21 – 24, 29, 30
  • Harvest: 21 – 24
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 13, 21, 22
  • Prune Trees: No good days

November

  • Plant above ground crops: 1, 2, 5 – 7, 10, 11, 28, 29
  • Plant root crops: 14, 15, 19, 20, 25, 26
  • Transplant: 12, 15, 16, 24, 25
  • Plant seed beds: 15, 16, 24, 25
  • Plant flowers: 15, 16, 21 – 23
  • Kill plant pests: 3, 4, 8, 9, 13, 14, 17 – 20, 26, 27, 30
  • Harvest: 19, 20
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 17, 18
  • Prune Trees: 24, 25

December

  • Plant above ground crops: 3, 4, 8, 9, 26, 27, 30, 31
  • Plant root crops: 12, 15, 16, 21 – 25
  • Transplant: 12,13, 21, 22
  • Plant seed beds: 12,13, 21, 22
  • Plant flowers: 12,13, 19, 22
  • Kill plant pests: 1, 2, 5 – 7, 10, 11, 14 – 18, 23, 24, 28, 29
  • Harvest: 18, 23, 24
  • Pick Apples and Pears: 14 – 16, 23, 24
  • Prune Trees: 21, 22, 25

Source: Farmer’s Almanac

Moon phase gardening is an idea as old as agriculture, popular in folklore and superstition, but there are scientific ideas to back it up.

The Earth is in a large gravitational field, influenced by both the sun and moon. The tides are highest at the time of the new and the full moon, when sun and moon are lined up with earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages growth.

The highest amount of moisture is in the soil at this time, and tests have proven that seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon. Planting by the phases of the moon will keep in rhythm with the alternating gravitational pull.

Moon phase gardening considers four phases or quarters lasting about seven days each. The first two quarters are during the waxing or increasing light, from the new moon and growing up to the full moon.

New Moon

At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This factor, coupled with the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth.

The first quarter is the best time for planting above ground bearing annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit. Examples are lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and grain crops.

2nd Quarter Moon

In the second quarter the gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is strong, creating healthy leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon.

The types of crops that prefer the second quarter are annuals that produce above ground, but their seeds form inside the fruit, such as beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes.

Plant just before the full moon to get the benefits of peak moisture.

Full Moon

The third and fourth quarters are after the full moon when the light is waning or decreasing, and the energy is drawing down.

The gravitation pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil, but the moonlight is decreasing, putting energy into the roots. This is a favorable time for planting root time for crops, such as beets and carrots.

It is also good for perennials, bulbs and transplanting because of the active root growth. Prune in Scorpio.

4th Quarter Moon

In the fourth quarter there is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight, and this is considered a resting period.

This is also the best time to cultivate, harvest, transplant, fertilize and prune. Mow lawns in the third or fourth quarter to retard growth. Use the water signs for deep watering of shrubs and trees.

Source: Gardening By The Moon

According to moon lore, for best results you should set eggs (place eggs under a hen or in an incubator) during specific phases of the moon. It occured to me that if these are good days to set eggs, they might also be good days for fertility magick.

Here are the optimum dates for 2019:

  • January: 16 – 18, 26, 27
  • February: 13, 14, 22, 23
  • March: 21 – 23
  • April: 18, 19, 26
  • May: 15, 16, 24, 25
  • June: 11, 12, 20, 21
  • July: 10, 17, 18
  • August: 13, 14, 23
  • September: 10, 11, 19 – 21
  • October: 7, 8, 16 – 18
  • November: 5, 13, 14
  • December: 10, 11

Source: The Farmers’ Almanac

Belenus, whose name means “Bright One,” was one of the most ancient of Celtic gods. The Celtic fire festival, held on the eve of the first of May, known as Beltane, (the fires of Bel) is probably derived from the name of this deity. Beltane fires were lit to encourage the sun’s warmth. These fires also had restorative properties and cattle were herded between them before being loosed on the new spring pastures.

Closely connected to the Druids, ruler of science, healing, hot springs, fire, success, prosperity, purification, crops, vegetation, fertility. It is likely that Belenus (Bel, or Beli) was a fire deity, a patron of flame and the sun’s restorative powers (which explains his classical association with Apollo). Originally he may have been a pastoral deity and in Cymric myth is associated with cattle, sheep and crops. Though this may be because Beltane was the time that herds were moved to the high pastures.

The Celtic god of light and healing, “Bel” means “shining one,” or in Irish Gaelic, the name “bile” translates to “sacred tree.” It is thought that the waters of Danu, the Irish All-Mother goddess, fed the oak and produced their son, The Dagda. As the Welsh Beli, he is the father of Arianrhod by Don.

Patron of sheep and cattle, Bel’s festival is Beltane, one of two main Celtic fire festivals. Beltane celebrates the return of life and fertility to the world — marking the beginning of Summer and the growing season.

Taking place on April 30 (May Eve) and in some areas on May 1, Beltane also is sometimes referred to as “Cetsamhain” which means “opposite Samhain.” The word “Beltaine” literally means “bright” or “brilliant fire,” and refers to the bonfire lit by a presiding Druid in honor of Bile.

Found at: Encyclopedia Mythica

The festival of the Robigalia is celebrated to appease the God Robigus (or perhaps the Goddess Robigo; the gender of this deity, who originated as one of the numinae, is uncertain), who is the deity of wheat-rust, mildew, and blight.

It is an ancient festival of the agricultural calendar, and is celebrated by the Flamen Quirinalis. Both a red dog and sheep are sacrificed to Robigus, along with wine and incense; prayers are then spoken to protect the crops. There is some connection with the ascension of the star Sirius, but it is unclear.

Games (ludi) in the form of “major and minor” races were held. The Robigalia was one of several agricultural festivals in April to celebrate and vitalize the growing season, but the darker sacrificial elements of these occasions are also fraught with anxiety about crop failure and the dependence on divine favor to avert it.

Verminus, a God who protects cattle against worm disease, might also be honored on this day.

The Robigalia has been connected to the Christian feast of Rogation, which was concerned with purifying and blessing the parish and fields and which took the place of the Robigalia on April 25 of the Christian calendar.

Sources:

On the first of November, it was an ancient Celtic practice to indulge in a sort of feast, which was called la mas ubhal, the day of the apple fruit, because on that occasion, roasted apples were bruised and mixed in ale, milk, or by those who could afford it, in wine. This is the origin of lamb’s wool.

About Lambs Wool:

The basic recipe for lambswool is as follows:  Apples are roasted in a pan on the fire, or on a string over the fire, until they sizzle. They are then dropped, still hot, into the warmed, spiced, sweetened ale.

In Gerard’s Herbal (1633) it is described as a drink of warmed, spiced ale or cider, in which bob roasted apples: ‘sometimes, eggs or cream, or both, are whisked in, and sometimes it is served poured over small fruit cakes.’

It derives its name from the day which is dedicated to the Angel presiding over fruits and seeds, which was originally called “La Maso bal” which was corrupted to Lamb’s Wool. According to Nell Heaton writing in the late 1940’s. Alternatively, the name could simply be a reference to the fluffy appearance of the pulp of the roast apples, bobbing about in the warm brew.

From: The Scotish Gaël and Celebration

Pomona’s Day of Honoring is often cited as November 1, making it a close match to the Celtic holiday Samhain. But sometimes it’s cited as August 13. Taken together, those days bracket the apple season. The earliest dessert apples begin to ripen in late summer, while the last storage apples finish in late autumn.

Even before the Romans added Pomona to the Samhain festivities, the Celts traditionally roasted apples and nuts in the bonfires. Pomona’s associations strengthened the role and symbolism of this fruit in connection with the holiday. This may be the origin of the modern custom of “bobbing for apples.”

To do on Pomona’s Day:

  • Plant an apple tree.

Trees set out during the autumn planting season have a chance for extra root growth before they leaf out in the spring. Invoking Pomona’s blessing for her favorite type of tree will help your apple sapling grow big and strong.

This is especially helpful for grafted trees, which are a little more fragile than self-rooted trees and can use a boost from the goddess of grafting.

  • Do some divination.

Do divination or other magic with fruits and nuts. The seeds, peels, and flesh of fruiting plants are useful in many types of divination and spellcraft. At this time of year, the veil between worlds is thin, making divination easier and more effective.

Divination with apples includes such things as cutting the peel from an apple all in one strip and tossing it to reveal the initials of one’s future spouce, placing apple seeds on the coals to see if they lie quietly (fortelling a happy relationship) or fly apart (foretelling heartbreak), and cutting an apple in front of a mirror to scry one’s beloved.

  • Practice some Apple Magick.

Another set of practices draws on the apple’s qualities as a magickal fruit with power over the otherworld. These rituals deal with death and banishing. An apple may be cut in half and buried to cure a disease, settle a quarrel, or break a bad habit. Apples are also sometimes thrown to drive away evil spirits, or left out to feed the spirits of the dead so they do not trouble the living.

Ritual for Pomona’s Day

Here is a nice little ceremony to honor Pomona on her day:

  • Colors: Red, yellow, green
  •  Earth
  • Altar: Upon cloth of any or all of these colors, lay baskets of apples (preferably the old Roman variety “Lady”)and other tree fruit, a jug of cider, and a pruning knife.
  • Offerings: Water fruit trees.
  • Daily Meal: Vegetarian, with any food made with apples.

Invocation to Pomona

Lady of the Apple Tree
Whose red-cheeked visage greets the dawn,
Lady of the Pear Tree
Whose sweetness salves the questing tongue,
Lady of the Peach Tree
Whose blush transforms the morning sky,
Lady of the Plum Tree
Whose scent entices, smooth and smiling,
Lady of the Cherry Tree
Whose scarlet lips are drenched in raindrops.
Lady of the blossoming branch
Who entices bees to dance with you,
Lady of the secret orchard
Where Vertumnus gained his entry,
Where he came in secret, clothed in
Vestments of the ancient Crone,
God of growth, god of seasons,
God of turning, he took you there
As you offered up your nectar
And all the trees above you burst their buds.
Lady of the ancient ones, the Trees
Who give forth their children one by one
That we may know not just mere survival
But sweetness as well, help us to remember
The beauty and abundance of your gifts.

Chant:

Pomona Pomona
Pomum Pirum Prunus
Pax Pactum Promissio

Sources:
Subscribe
If you'd like to stay up to date on everything that is posted here, subscribe via email:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Archives
Moon Tracker
Calendar
November 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  
Bread Crumbs
Christmas


I think it's time to go shopping... maybe even buy some really cool stuff at my online shops!!

Stats