Pagan News and Views Since 1998

Tuesday February 1

Our reading for today is:
Five of Swords
Three of Rods

For our first card today we have the Five of Swords suggesting that we may be feeling held down or held back by the needs or actions of another. With it is the Empress, a Major Arcanum that represents happiness, success, and abundance. Finally we have the Three of Rods, indicating another person giving us good advice, aid, or assistance. Altogether these three cards suggest that this will be prosperous day in which we will enjoy the help of others, but may find ourselves chafing against seeming limitations.

A good stone for today would be Crazy Lace Agate, a stone that helps to bring hidden things to the surface and promotes the ability to see below surfaces.

Today is the Kalends of February. February is named for Februus, an ancient name or title for the God of the Dead, and this month was looked upon as sacred to the God of the Dead by the ancient Romans. This is because in the ancient Mediterranean the New Year began for a time on March 1 (because March contained the Spring Equinox, and the sign of Aries). As the closing month of the year February naturally took on funereal connotations, much as October does for many people (because the Celtic New Year was/is November 1). Consequently to the Romans February involved ceremonies to honor and appease the Spirits as well as ceremonies to hasten the coming of Spring.

In the Northern Hemisphere today is the Grand Sabbat of Candlemas, also called Imbolc (Pro: “IM-molk”), Oimelc (Pro: “EE-mell”), and Lá Fhéile Bríde (Pro: Law AY-la VREE-jah”) after the Goddess Brighid/Bride. The name Candlemas comes from the Christianized version of the ceremony, which occurred on February 2, but is commonly used in Pagan circles because it so beautifully encompasses the nature of the holiday, which is dedicated to the returning light and often celebrated with a great many candles. In the creation cycle of the Vangelo delle Streghe Candlemas corresponds to the Goddess’ trembling with delight at the sight of the God’s brilliant light, described as the first dawn. The festival is sacred to the Maiden Goddess, and represents the first stirrings of spring. Divination is often performed on this day (or on February 2) to determine, often through the actions of a sacred animal such as a groundhog, bear, badger, or hamster, whether Spring has arrived or will be delayed for six more weeks (that is, until Ostara). Candlemas is also considered by many to be an especially auspicious time for initiations, because of its associations with dawn and spring.

In the Southern Hemisphere today is the Grand Sabbat of Lammas, also called Lughnassad (Pro: “LOON-uh-sah”). The name Lammas comes from the Christianized version of the festival and means “Loaf Mass” because the first loaves baked from the new wheat crop were blessed on this day, or sometimes the Sunday nearest. Lammas represents the beginning of the harvest season, and on this day the new harvest is blessed. Considered the festival of the First Fruits, it is often customary to bless and make and offering of the first fruits of garden or field in the Lammas ritual. Often a loaf of bread baked in the shape of a man is made and eaten, to symbolize the spirit of the harvest, in acknowledgment that vegetal life is no less sacred than animal life.

Daily Question: Yesterday we asked: In Inca mythology, who is Cuichu?

Answer: Cuichu is the Incan God of the rainbow.  He served the Sun God, Inti, and the Moon Goddess Mama Quilla.  Cuichu was important to the Inca because they were so dependent on the rain to grow their crops.  Cuichu built a temple, complete with his seven colors painted across a golden arch, in the compound honoring Inti in Cuzco. The Inca considered rainbows to be two-headed serpents that had their heads buried in springs deep in the Earth. They also believed that rainbows could move, cause trouble, and enter people (especially women) causing disease.  The disease could be cured if the affected person unrolled a ball of multicolored yarn.

New Question: In Chinese philosophy, what is the Taijitu? [Thank you to Anavrin and Amanda Bright for the Daily Question]

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