Friday, February 19, 2010

Quickening Moon, February

Quickening Moon

Chrisine Moonflower

* Also known as: Disting Moon, Chaste Moon, Ice Moon, Wind Moon, The Storm Moon, Sap Moon, Sugar Moon, Horning Moon, Rowan Moon, Red and Cleansing Moon, Fasting Moon, Candles Moon
* Colors: White, red, gold, purple and light blue
* Scents: Floral scents, Rose, Wisteria, Heliotrope, Cedar, Citrus and spicy warm scents
* Gemstones: Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Jasper, Carnelian, Howlite, Garnet, Bloodstone, Agate, Malachite, Tiger’s Eye, Turquoise,
Trees: Rowan, Myrtle, Laurel, Cedar, Maple
* Gods: Brighid, Aphrodite, Juno Februa, Mars, Selene, Kwan Yin, Buddha, Diana, Lupa, Vesta, Tacita, Terminus, Carista, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite, Ganesha
* Herbs: Hyssop, Sage, Myrrh, Nettle, Narcissus, Snowdrop, Hyacinths, Balm of Gilead, Spikenard, Primrose, Bilberries, Meadowsweet, Rose Hips, Lungwort, Yarrow
* Foods: All dairy and grains, and root crops, dried fruits, maple syrup, coconut, palm sugar, sorghum, honey, agave, chocolate, champagne, mead.
* Animals: Birds, Eagle, Chickadee, Otter, Groundhogs.
* Element: Fire

Now, we enter the second month of the Gregorian calendar year known as February, though this was not always so .The Romans for whom the name originates considered February the shortest and last month of the year. February originates from the word Februum which means purification. It may also originate from the name of the Goddess Juno Februa a goddess of love, passion, fertility and marriage as well as from the God Februss a god of the dead and of purification. Februalia was a month long festival based on purification, cleansing, and clearing away of the old. It was times to atone for any wrongdoings, to pray, mediate and make offerings to the Gods. During Februalia grain and salt were scattered about the house and pine boughs were used to sweep the floors clean. You may wish to continue this tradition with a thorough house cleaning, clean not only the physical but the astral, use an herbal based flour wash with sea salt to cleanse. Open the shutters and blinds and let the growing sunlight and air circulate. Leave a lemon cut in half in every room of the house with the intent that it may remove/absorb any negativity .When the lemon begins to dry, brown or rot, it has served its purpose and you may dispose of it. Now, is a good time to go through your clothes, pantry and other area and donate what is not wanted or necessary to charity. Also, it is a good time to go through the pantry and medicine cabinet and through your herbs, oils and natural remedies and dispose or recycle any that are too old and to make a list of ingredients you need to pick up.

Other Roman festivals that occurred during the month were the Terminalia, occurring around February 23; a festival honoring the god Terminus a deity of land boundaries. At this time the head of the household would go out and anoint the boundary stones on his property asking for prosperity and protection for the land and his family. You may wish to continue this tradition by walking your property lines and sprinkling protective herbs, anointing the fences with a blessing, protective oil, or by planting protective crystals or stones around your property or you can make a witches bottles. You may also think about planting a future privacy/protection hedge. It is also a good time to settle disputes, to make friends with your neighbors and to set and honor your personal boundaries,

The Parentalia was held at the full moon of the month of February and was a festival honoring ones parents, family and ancestors. Families would visit their diseased loved ones graves and make offerings. This was a somber remembrance of loved ones and weddings and other celebrations were prohibited. If you would like to continue this tradition visit the graves of your loved ones, decorate their graves and remember them. You may also wish to take a few other decorations to put on the graves of the very old, forgot or damaged stones. Everyone deserves someone to honor and remember them; you may help a lost soul and forgottem more than you know. You can also write and record past stories of the deceased and tell them to the younger members of your family, cook traditional family meals, go to past ancestors favorite places, research your genealogy and get family photos and scrapbooks in order; maybe making digital copies and uploading them to a secure site so they will be preserved and easily shared among family members. It would also be an excellent idea to treat your parents, or grandparents, do something nice for them, take them out to eat or do something with them that they enjoy. Make known and show your appreciation for all they have done for you.

The Lupercalia festival is an ancestor to the modern St. Valentine’s Day. The celebration was held on the 15th of the month. This was a very raucous festival, whose activities brought purification, health and fertility to the city of Rome and to its participants. The celebrants would start at Palatine Hill where the twins Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of the city were said to have settled. Offerings of corn cakes from the first harvested grain of last year harvest were offered along with a dog and a goat. The skin of the goat was then worn by the young men, priests of Faunas, and the goat skin were made into whips. The young men would run the boundary of this city lightly whipping the people them came across, driving away evil and bestowing fertility. Women who wished to get pregnant were said to strip all or most of their clothes off to give these young men a better shot. There was also a matchmaking lottery, where available maidens names were placed in a box and drawn out by young, single men, the man would consider this young women his love for the duration of the festival, and maybe even a little longer if he choose.

Another holiday you may wish to incorporate into your calendar is the celebration of the Chinese New Year; it typically falls between January 21st and February 20th. It falls the first day of the new moon when the sun is in the sign Aquarius and ends with the Full Moon and the Lantern Festival. Celebrations typically last for two weeks but can last up to a month. The Chinese assign a different animal for each year in their twelve year cycle; their calendar is based on the Lunar year as opposed to the solar. Every year is assigned an animal name or “sign,” according to this repeating cycle of: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse Sheep, Monkey Rooster, Dog, and Boar. According to Chinese legend the Jade Emperor, (the Buddha,) invited all the animals on the planet to join him for a New Year’s celebration but only 12 animals showed up. To reward the animals that did come he named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived. Another version of this myth says that the 12 animals were arguing over who was to head the cycle of years. The Gods decided that this was to be determined by a contest. Whoever reached the opposite bank of the river first would start it and those that followed would receive their years in order. All twelve animals jumped in the river and began swimming, unknown to the Ox the Rat had jumped on his back and was getting a free ride. As the Ox reached the shore the Rat jumped off and won the race, and became the animal to start the cycle.

Before the New Year is to begin it traditional that Chinese families do a thorough cleaning of the house, doing this is said to clear out any bad luck and energies of the old year. All cleaning must be done before the New Year begins so that you do not, sweep, throw, or wash away any luck from the New Year. This also applies to bathing, cutting ones hair, or buying new clothes. At midnight all the doors and windows of the house are flung open to let the old year out and the New Year in. It is said that whatever happens on New Year day sets the tone for the entire year. Therefore debts would be paid, bad language and unlucky words avoided, and death and the past year was not mentioned. Chinese families decorate and wear reds to ward off evil influences and spirits and bring luck into their lives they also decorate their house with the word fu, which translates to luck and happiness. They bring flowers into the house as a reminder of the upcoming Spring and new beginnings. A large meal is also eaten with family consisting of eight dishes, eight being considered a lucky number. Some popular foods that are eaten are: dumplings for prosperity, oranges to represent completeness and wholeness and noodles served to symbolized long life. Animals and Ancestors were honored and sticky, sweet rice cakes were offered to the kitchen God Tsa0-Wang. The festival concluded at the Full Moon with the Lantern Festival. Families lit lanterns which symbolized the brightness of Spring and hung them throughout their house, attracting good luck and averting disaster.

The Full Moon of February is called the Quickening Moon for it is at this time that you begin to feel l the quickening of life. In the past before pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, the stage in pregnancy where the mother begins to feel the child inside her move was called the Quickening. This is when the pregnancy and the child inside really begins to feel “real”. This was the time when aborting the child was not considered as the child was considered alive, it was also a safer time when families could announce that they were expecting. Like all Mothers, Nature is beginning to feel the Quickening as well. The Sun shines brightly when it is not obscured by storm clouds and the world begins to unthaw. Herbs not content to be locked up under frozen grounds begin to emerge from the soil; their green shoots and leaves can be seen poking through ice, encrusted snow and last year’s growth. Some self seeding plants emerge small and fragile; and buds begin to form and swell on the trees. Birds flock together, on bare skeletal branches singing strange, squawking songs and scavenging for food. Some animals begin to emerge from their deans and exhibit behaviors suggesting boredom and an acute case of Spring Fever. Some animals may even be giving birth. The Human animal also emerges from its cave and dean seeking out others and feeling the need to gather in celebration and community. We all feel the drive to clean, to make ready, to be creative, to craft and to begin looking towards Spring’s planting and Summer activity and trips. We also think about the direction our life is going and we find the desire and energy to move forward, suddenly our goals that seemed so impossible before seems more accomplishable and we move forward towards achieving them. Now is the time to work towards you personal growth, to purify yourself of any past failures and anything that may have held you back. Now is the time heal for past hurts, forgive others and yourself Now is the time to make sure that your plans are well rooted and have a good foundation. Now is the time for spiritual and physical growth. It is a perfect time for initiations or dedications, or rededications and for making good on past, failed promises.

The February Moon is also called the Chaste Moon because “all of nature at this moment is pure potential waiting to be full fulfilled.” Now, is the time of the Maiden, a woman complete in herself, of all possibilities and full of promise. Now, is a time of newness and simple joy. Allow yourself to feel pleasure in the little things, make time for yourself and do what you like to do, especially those pursuits you liked as a child, now is the perfect time to honor your inner child. Give in to jolts of the imagination, write, pretend, color, paint, create. It is also a great time to give to children’s charities, to host a toy drive. Now, is the time to simplicity, to purify and make room for the new. It is also a good time to go through your financials, to evaluate your spending and eliminate unnecessary costs. Another fun activity may be to host a community garage sale/swap, though you may wish to wait until warmer weather. You may wish to begin planning and planting the seed. A book swap is also a good idea and can be done indoors, have people bring books that no longer serve them and have them swap them out for books that do. If there is any left and those participating do not want them back give them to a shelter or other charity.

This Moon is also called the Sap Moon because the sap is starting to run in to the trees, if you look closely you can see the buds forming and starting to swell. In the Eastern United States Sugar Maple sap runs from the first thaw until the buds appear, a period of 4-6 weeks, now is the times when they would tap the trees and beginning turning the sap from a watery , clear substance into a syrup or a sugar thus the name Sugar Moon. The indigenous people of the Chippewa, Abenaki, Mi’kmag, Passamaquody, Penobscot, Potawatomi, and Iroquois would drink the fresh sap as a Spring tonic and used it to make vinegar. Maple syrup was an important source of carbohydrate, flavor and nutrition at this cold time of the year to the indigenous people and the homesteaders alike. If the Full Moon falls towards the end of the month you may wish to host a Sap Moon celebration where participants drum to awaken the Earth, and to raise the sap from the roots and into the bark and limbs of the trees. This will also have the affect of waking you from Winter’s long rest and setting you to a course of growth and action.

This Moon is a great time to revisit and renew your New Year’s Resolutions especially if it pertains to being more health conscious and losing weight. Refine your diet and maybe cut some more harmful ingredients such as refined sugar and flour, unhealthy fats out and replace them with healthier more nutritious choices. Make small steps, replace the ingredients slowly and experiment, do not look at this as a loss or a chore but a learning adventure. Replace refined white sugar with honey, molasses, agave nectar or Maple syrup. Eat yogurt flavored with fresh or frozen fruits and flavored with honey, (commercial yogurts contain high levels of high fructose corn syrup) instead of ice cream and sugary desserts. Eat dried sweet fruits instead of candy and consume dark chocolate instead of milk. If you need something sweet and chocolaty and nothing but a cookie will do try making a healthier version containing ingredients like dark chocolate, nuts, oats flax seed and wheat flour. Eat lightly salted and buttered popcorn instead of chips or do one better and cook up a bowl of whole soy bean pods, lightly salt them and crack them eating the beans inside like you would sunflower seeds. You can replace high calorie soda and coffee (lattes and such) with natural fruit juices and herbal teas. Roasted Dandelion and Chicory Root mimic coffees roasted flavor and make excellent coffee substitutes, they are also a great Spring tonic and help detoxify and strengthen the liver. Drinking Green Tea or Yerbe Matte will give you the caffeine boost and will help you lose weight. Yerbe Matte is very high in caffeine and is a diuretic like coffee and will curve cravings for sweets. Herbal teas containing flowers or fruit pieces, sweetened with honey or agave nectar will help your cravings for soda.

So go create, explore, celebrate and enjoy the energy of pure potential of this life filled Moon!

Grandmother Moon, ZSuzsanna E. Budapest
Wheel of the Year, Pauline Campanelli
Moon Magic, DJ Conway
Everyday Moon Magic, Dorothy Morrison
Full Moon Feast , Jessica Prentice
Hedge Witch, Silver Ravenwolf
Wiccan Spell a Night, Strona Knight
Seasons of the Sun, Patricia Telesco
Candlemas, Amber K and Azrael Arynn K.

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