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An Old Craft Witch's calendar 2016




Winter can be a dull and gloomy season, once the Midwinter and Yuletide festivities are past and gone. In extreme cases, the lack of daylight at this time of the year may lead to a depressive illness called seasonal affective disorder. Try and get out and about during daylight hours and see what’s growing in the hedgerows if the weather is mild.


1st New Year’s Day and a time for those ‘new-year resolutions’ that rarely last beyond the first week.


2nd Last Quarter and a time for banishing all negative thoughts for the coming year. Since January is named for the Roman god, Janus, we can look reflectively back at the old year and forward to the new.


5th Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon toast ‘Waes hael’, meaning “To your health!” and it was customary to drink from a bowel of spiced wine that was passed from person to person. The custom was also associated with a country ritual to ensure a good harvest of grain or fruit in he coming year. This was usually performed on 5th January, the eve of Twelfth Day, when farmers would gather with their friends, servants and labourers to perform the ceremony – lighting fires in a wheat field or singing in the apple orchard – before drinking a roast and returning to the house for a night of feasting and revelry. The wassailing of apple trees - which involved sprinkling the tree with cider, putting offerings in the branches, near its trunk and firing guns around it - is still practised in some rural areas.


6th Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or Little/Old Christmas according to the Julian Calendar, and the last of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’, although gone are the days when the festive season lasted for the full twelve days. The first Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday, formally the day on which farmhands returned to work after the Christmas holidays – not that they did much work since it was marked by various customs, usually ending in general merrymaking.


In medieval and Tudor England, Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve — now more commonly known as Halloween. The Lord of Misrule symbolizes the world turning upside down. On this day the ‘King’ and all those who were high would become the peasants and vice versa. At the beginning of the Twelfth Night festival, a cake that contained a bean was eaten. The person who found the bean would rule the feast. Midnight signaled the end of his rule and the world would return to normal. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition dates back to pre-Christian European festivals incorporating the Celtic festival of Samhain, Yule, the Midwinter Festival and the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia. In some places, Old Twelfth Night is celebrated on 17th January, continuing the custom on the date determined by the old Julian calendar.


7th St Distaff’s Day was the female equivalent of Plough Monday when women returned to work.






Although the shortest day is past, January is a dark month in the Northern Europe; the nights are still long and in dull weather it often feels as if there is any light at all.  Frost, ice and snow take their toll on non-hibernating wildlife, especially birds, so make your offerings at the bird table. The Anglo-Saxons called it Wolfmonath, when wolves moved closer to human habitation to feed off the carcases of fallen livestock.


8th Dark of the Moon and an ideal time for the Circle ritual for the month to reflect the celebration of new beginnings. Collect firewood or kindling as a symbolic gesture and make a supply of miniature faggots (bundles) for burning during magical workings. Ideally, these should be made from any of the Nine Sacred Woods, ash, birch, yew, hazel, rowan, willow, pine, thorn, or other indigenous trees recognised as being traditionally sacred, with the exception of oak or elder.


13-14th Mid-evening until dawn,the Geminid meteor shower is one of the finest meteors showers visible in either the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere. Best yet, there is no moon to obscure the shower.


TREE LORE: January is represented by the Rowan, or mountain ash; sprigs are considered to bring good luck and protection from negative energies. Hence the old Celtic salutation: “Peace be here and rowan tree.”  The rowan, or mountain ash, is a particularly magical tree —even the Christians adopted its use as a preventative charmagainst witches! Tie a red ribbon to a berry-bearing branch forgeneral good luck and to keep evil and harm at bay, or makeyour special wish while you do so. Rowan is also one of the treesbelieved to take away illness.The Saxons made use ofthis healing property by using a special spoon fashioned fromrowan wood to stir medicinal potions.




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Mélusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton. She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books on magic and witchcraft. Her highly individualistic teaching methods and writing draws on ancient sources, supported by academic texts and current archaeological findings.


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