February

February is the second month of the Gregorian calendar and third month of Winter’s rule. There are several places the name February may have come from. The God Februus, who was later identified with the Roman God Pluto is one possible source. More likely is the Roman Goddess Februa, the mother of Mars. As a Goddess of passion she also became know as Juno Februa and later St. Febronia, from febris the fever of love. Her orgiastic rites were said to be held on February 14th originally. Ovid wrote, “In ancient times, purgations had the name of Februa… the Grecians held that pure lustrations (proprietary offerings) could efface an impious deed to guilt of blood… ” However Februata was also the name of an aspect of Juno and is related etymologically to the words febrile and fever (as in spring fever).

The Irish named this month Feabhra or an Gearran, the gelding or the horse. The horse was used to draw the plough, but Gearran also means ‘to cut’ and ‘Gearran’ can be used to describe the ‘cutting’  Spring winds. To the Anglo-Saxons, this was Solmonath, “sun month,” in honor of the gradual return of the light after the darkness of winter. According to Franking and Asatru traditions, this month is Horning, from horn, the turn of the year.

The first full moon of February is called the Quickening Moon. It shares the titles Snow Moon with January and November, Wolf Moon with January and December, and Storm Moon with March and November. February’s Moon is also called the Hunger or Hungry Moon, and it has been called the Ice, Wild, Red and Cleansing, or Big Winter Moon.

Aquarius and Pisces share astrological power over February, with Pisces taking over around the 19th of February. As far as constellations go, we start with the sun in the constellation of Capricornus, and end with it in the constellation of Aquarius. Along with January, February was the last month to be added to the Roman calendar. This was originally a monthless and uncounted period of time. It was changed in 700 BC by Numa Pompilius in order to bring the calendar in line with the lunar year. Numa’s Februarius contained 29 days (with 30 in a leap year). It is alleged that later Augustus removed one day from February and added it to August (which was renamed from Sextilis to honor himself), so that Julius Ceasar’s July would not contain more days.

Since the year originally began in March, after the monthless winter, February became the last month of the year. Because the Roman’s followed a lunar year, and had not counted the winter before, the Roman priests would occasionally insert an intercalary month, Mercendonius, after February to realign the year with the seasons and the lunar passages. It as important that the new year be aligned so that the celebrations fell at the proper times to match the seasons.

Historical names for February include the Anglo-Saxon terms Solmoneth (mud month) and Kale-monath (named for cabbage) as well as Charlemagne’s designation Hornung. In old Japanese calendar, the month is called Kisaragi (如月, 絹更月 or 衣更月). It is sometimes also called Mumetsuki (梅見月) or Konometsuki (木目月). In Finnish, the month is called helmikuu, meaning “month of the pearl”.

“February” is often pronounced without the first r, as “Febuary”, by many speakers. This is probably dissimilation, or an analogical change influenced by “January”.

February birthstones

  • aquarius-001Modern Birthstone (officially adopted in 1912): Amethyst
  • Traditional Birthstone (herald back to the 15th century): Amethyst
  • Mystical Birthstone (Tibetan origin): Bloodstone
  • Ayurvedic Birthstone (Ayurvedic Indian Medicine): Amethyst
  • Other Birthstone (alternative birthstone): Onyx, Moonstone, Jacinth, Pearl

Magickal Correspondences for February

  • piscesAstrological Signs: Aquarius, Pisces
  • Nature Spirits: House faeries, both of the home itself and house plants
  • Herbs: Balm of Gilead, hyssop, myrrh, sage, spikenard
  • Colors: Light blue, violet
  • Flowers: Primrose, violet
  • Scents: Wisteria, heliotrope
  • Stones: Amethyst, jasper, and rock crystal
  • Trees: Rowan, laurel and cedar
  • Animals: Otter and unicorn
  • Birds: Eagle and chickadee
  • Deities: Aphrodite, Brigit, Juno, Kuan Yin, Aradia, Diana, Demeter, and Persephone

 

January

January derives its name from the ancient Roman God Janus, god of doors and gateways. Janus is the male equivalent of one of the versions of the Goddess Juno-Janus, who in her two-faced aspects of Antevorta and Postvorta looks simultaneously forward and backward as does Janus. Modern tradition would have us look forward only and forget the past year like a bad memory. I would advise those who follow this tradition to remember… That which is forgotten is soon repeated.

January is the first month of the Gregorian Calendar, and the second of Winter’s rule. The original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months (304 days). The Romans originally considered winter a monthless period. Circa 700 BCE Romulus’ successor, King Numa Pompilius, added the months of January and February allowing the calendar to equal a standard lunar year (364 days). A Roman superstition against even numbers resulted in the addition of one day thus equaling 365 days. Although March was originally the first month, January usurped that position because that was when consuls were usually chosen.

The first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day.
Historical names for January include its original Roman designation, Ianuarius, the Saxon term Wulf-monath (meaning wolf month) and Charlemagne’s designation Wintarmanoth (winter / cold month). In old Japanese calendar, the month is called Mutsuki (睦月). The second day of the month is known as Hatsuyume (初夢) and the 7th day as Nanakusa (七草). In Finnish, the month is called tammikuu, meaning “month of the oak”.

The first Monday in January is known as Handsel Monday in Scotland and northern England. This day is so named for the gifts or handsels that are given to children. In England, the agricultural year began with Plough Sunday on the Sunday after Twelfth Night.

The Coming of Age day in Japan is the second Monday of January, for those becoming 20 years old in the new calendar year. It is a national holiday. The day has existed since 1948, but fell on January 15 until 1999, when it was moved by the Japanese government in an attempt to lift the economy by making more holidays consecutive.

To the Irish, January is Eanáir or am Faoilleach, the ‘wolf month.’ The full moons of February and December are also sometimes referred to as Wolf Moon. The first Full Moon between Yule and the 25th of January is most often called Disting, and it shares the name Cold Moon with December. It may also be referred to as the Quiet or Chaste Moon, or the Moon of Little Winter.

Capricorn and Aquarius are the signs for January, Aquarius gaining power on or around January 20th. The flower for January is the white carnation. Garnet is the favored stone of this month, though Jacinth appears on some lists. Garnet, along with the ruby, is also the birthstone for Capricorn, while Aquarius lays claim to aquamarine. Other stones associated with Capricorn are amber, amethyst, carnelian, fire agate, green tourmaline, labradorite, peridot, and sapphire. Aquarius also holds sway over chrysoprase, garnet, labradorite, lapis lazuli, and opal.

January birthstones

  • aquarius-001Modern Birthstone (officially adopted in 1912): Garnet
  • Traditional Birthstone (herald back to the 15th century): Garnet
  • Mystical Birthstone (Tibetan origin): Emerald
  • Ayurvedic Birthstone (Ayurvedic Indian Medicine): GarnetOther Birthstone (alternative birthstone): Sapphire, Rose Quartz

Magickal Correspondences for January

  • capricorn-001Astrological Signs: Capricorn, Aquarius
  • Nature Spirits: Gnomes, BrowniesHerbs: Marjoram, holy thistle, nuts and cones
  • Colors: Brilliant white, blue-violet, black
  • Flowers: Carnation, crocus, snow drop
  • Scents: Musk, mimosa
  • Stones: Garnet, onyx, jet, chrysoprase
  • Trees: Birch
  • Animals: Fox, coyote
  • Birds: Pheasant, blue jay
  • Deities: Freya, Inanna, Sarasvati, Hera, Ch’ang-O, Sin, Antu, Felicitas, Irene, Janus, Pax, and Venus