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Herbal lore for each month, Esbat and Sabbat of the year.

A Calendar of Magickal Herb Lore

Imbolc

Ostara

Beltane

Midsummer

Lughnassad

Mabon

Samhain

Yule

January


5th: On the eve before the Festival of the Three Kings, an old Christian tradition calls for blessed dried herbs to be ritually burned and doorways sprinkled with holy water.


6th: Twelfth Day. According to a centuries-old English tradition, all yuletide decorations of holly, ivy, mistletoe, and evergreens should be removed from the house and burnt on the morning of Twelfth Day (the last day of the yuletide season). This is believed to avert 12 months of bad luck or a death in the family.


13th: In some parts of the world, the old Pagan custom of wassailing apple trees each year on this day continues to be observed.


20th: Saint Agnes’ Eve: According to Pagan tradition, drinking parsley tea and eating stale bread before going to sleep this night will bring you a dream about the man or woman destined to be your future marriage partner. The Celtic tree month of Birch (Beth) ends.


21st: The Celtic tree month of Rowan (Luis) begins.


February


2nd: Candlemas (also known as Imbolc), one of the four major sabbats celebrated each year by Witches and other Pagans, is observed on this day. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: angelica, basil, bay, myrrh, celandine, heather, wisteria, and all yellow flowers.


3rd: On this day the Japanese celebrate their annual Setsu-bun festival, during which people drive away evil spirits by throwing dried soy beans (one for each year of their age) and chanting: “Oni-wa soto! Fuku-wa uchi!” (Translation: “Devils out! Good luck in!”)


8th: Birthday of herbalist and author, Susun Weed.


13th: Herbal lore holds that if a young woman sleeps this night with five bay leaves beneath her pillow, she will dream about the man destined to be her future husband. If she does not dream, this is said to be an omen that she will remain a spinster for at least another year.


14th: Saint Valentine’s Day. In the Victorian language of flowers, the following plants speak of love in the following ways: ambrosia (love returned), bridal rose (marriage), coreopsis (love at first sight), forget-me-not (true love, forget me not), ivy (marriage and fidelity), lemon blossom (fidelity in love), linden (conjugal love), lotus flower (estranged love), moss (maternal love), motherwort (concealed love), myrtle (love), pink carnation (woman’s love), rose (love), yellow acacia (secret love), yellow tulip (hopeless love).


17th: In ancient Rome, an annual festival known as the Fornacalia was observed to pay homage to the oven goddess and to ensure a good growing season for crops. “On this day,” says Nigel Pennick in The Pagan Book of Days, “plants should be tended with extra loving care.” The Celtic tree month of Rowan (Luis) ends.


18th: The Celtic tree month of Ash (Nuin) begins.


23rd: The maple tree and its sugar are honored on this day by the Iroquois Indians.


24th: In Elizabethan times, bridesmaids traditionally planted sprigs of myrtle each year on this day to make their romances blossom into marriage.


March


1st: Saint David’s Day honors the patron saint of Wales and his sacred plants, the leek and the daffodil, which symbolize vigorous growth.


14th: The Runic half-month of Boerc, which is symbolized by the birch tree, begins on this day.


16th: In ancient Greece, the annual 2-day rites of Dionysus began on this day to honor the winegod and to ensure a bountiful grape harvest.


17th: Saint Patrick’s Day is observed each year on this day. It is said that Saint Patrick is actually an assimilation of the Pagan Celtic deity Trefuilngid Tre-eochair, whose sacred plant, the shamrock, bore all edible fruits including the apples of immortality. This day marks the rebirth of the Green Man (a deity who embodies the vitality of all plant life). In olden times, an annual festival for the greening of Mother Earth was celebrated on this day in Europe. The Celtic tree month of Ash (Nuin) ends.


18th: The Celtic tree month of Alder (Fearn) begins.


19th: On this day, the annual Yoruba and Santeria feast in honor of Osanyin, the Orisha of Green Leaves, is celebrated.


21st: The Spring Equinox, one of the four minor (or lesser) sabbats observed by Witches and other Pagans, occurs approximately on this date each year. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: acorns, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, rose, strawberry, tansy, and violets.


April


10th: On this day in the year 1872, residents of the state of Nebraska planted close to one million trees in celebration of the first Arbor Day. (In 1882, Nebraska declared Arbor Day a legal holiday and changed its date to April 22, which was J. Sterling Morton’s birthday.) Throughout most of the United States, Arbor Day is currently observed each year on the last Friday in April, a day on which many Wiccans and Pagans plant trees, perform special tree-honoring rituals, meditate on Deity manifesting as trees, and give thanks for the abundance of the earth.


12th: The first day of the annual 8-day Cerealia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome on this day. It paid homage to the goddess Ceres, who was connected to the earth and its fruits, and included sacred rites to guard the crops against failure.


14th: The Celtic tree month of Alder (Fearn) ends.


15th: The Celtic tree month of Willow (Saille) begins.


16th: In the Middle Ages, Saint Padarn’s Day (Celtic) was the traditional time for farmers to begin

weeding the growing crops.


22nd: Earth Day. (The first Earth Day was held in the United States in 1970 to raise public awareness of environmental issues and ecology. Twenty years later in 1990, 20 million Americans observed the second Earth Day. Since then it has been observed every year.) On this day, many Wiccans and Pagans throughout the world meditate on Deity manifesting as Mother Earth and perform special rituals to honor her and to heal her from the ravages of mankind.


23rd: This day starts the annual Iroquois planting ceremonies and thanksgiving for the gift of the corn seed.


25th: On this day the ancient Romans celebrated the annual Robigalia festival to honor and appease the dual-gendered deity Robigus. Sacrificial offerings of red dogs and sheep were made to prevent blight from the growing grain. Saint Mark’s Day divination: Pluck nine sage leaves as the clock strikes 12 at noon and, according to old herbal lore, your future husband (or a vision of him) will appear before you.


28th: The Floralia, an annual 3-day festival honoring the flower-goddess Flora, began on this day in ancient Rome. In ancient and medieval Europe, various vegetation festivals were celebrated every year on this day.


30th: Walpurgis Night. According to medieval legend, this is a night given over to demonic forces and evil spirits. For protection, wear or carry angelica, garlic, mandrake root, rowan, or Saint John’s wort as an herbal amulet. On this night, the Horned God of the ancient Celtic and Teutonic peoples was honored. In his Green Man aspect, he personified the spirit of all trees and plants.


May


1st: Beltane, one of the four major sabbats celebrated each year by Witches and other Pagans, is observed on this day. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: almond, angelica, ash tree, bluebells, cinquefoil, daisy, frankincense, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, marigold, meadowsweet, primrose, roses, satyrion root, woodruff, and yellow cowslips. The Pueblo and Zuni Indians of the American southwest celebrate the annual Green Corn Dances on this day. According to legend, the Corn Maidens return to earth at this time to bless and make fruitful the land after the barrenness of the winter season.


3rd: Rowan Tree Day. It is traditional for many Witches and Pagans on this day to gather rowan twigs and leaves for magickal spells and amulets. Decorate your altar and home with sprigs of rowan to court the blessings and protection of the Goddess and Her horned consort. Fires made of rowan wood are believed on this day to possess the power to summon spirits.


4th: The hawthorn (a tree sacred to the “good goddess” Bona Dea and linked to Witches and fairyfolk) is honored on this day. An annual 4-day Iroquois corn-planting ceremony begins on this day and pays homage to the sky goddess Awenhai.


12th: The Celtic tree month of Willow (Saille) ends.


13th: The Celtic tree month of Hawthorn (Huath) begins.


19th: In olden times, the Celtic goddess Brigid was honored on this day by the festival of the Sacred Spring. It was traditional for sacred wells and springs to be decorated with flowers and greenery.


23rd: A sacred rose festival known as the Rosalia was celebrated each year on this day in ancient Rome. It honored the flower-goddess Flora.


24th: For prosperity and to ensure a good harvest, every year on this day the ancient Celts would pay homage to the three goddesses known as the Mothers.


25th: On this day of the year, the Iroquois Indians give thanks for the strawberry harvest.


29th: Oak Apple Day. In England, it is customary to wear oak leaves for the first half of the day. In ancient Rome, the Ambarvalia festival was held each year on this day to honor Ceres and the Dea Dia, as well as to receive divine blessings for the growing crops.


June


1st: In Celtic cultures, the Festival of the Oak Nymph was celebrated annually on this day to pay homage to the benevolent nature spirits who dwelled within all oak trees.


9th: The Celtic tree month of Hawthorn (Huath) ends.


10th: The Celtic tree month of Oak (Duir) begins.


15th: The ancient Romans observed the Vestalia, an annual women’s festival celebrating the first fruits

of the early harvest season, on this day.


20th: On this day in the year 1889, the first Arbor Day in Australia was celebrated in Adelaide.


21st: The Summer Solstice, one of the four minor (or lesser) sabbats observed by Witches and other Pagans, occurs approximately on this date each year. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: chamomile, cinquefoil, elder, fennel, hemp, larkspur, lavender, male fern, mugwort, pine, roses, Saint John’s wort, wild thyme, wisteria, and verbena.


23rd: Saint John’s Eve (also known as Midsummer’s Eve in many old calendars) is the traditional time for many Witches to gather herbs for amatory spells and philters (love potions). This is also said to be the prime time to harvest Saint John’s wort for use in treating individuals suffering from depression and madness of the mind.


24th: Saint John’s Day (also known as Midsummer’s Day in many old calendars). This is said to be the best day of the year on which to gather vervain for use in love potions. In keeping with an old Pagan tradition, use a gold coin or a stag’s horn to dig the plant up. Legend holds that the magickal energies of herbs are at their peak on this day. In the Middle Ages, Saint John’s wort is traditionally burned on this day to repel evil spirits and sorcery.


29th: In the English region of East Anglia, those who continue to follow the ancient ways believe that this is the prime day of the year to harvest herbs for healing use. In the English village of Appleton, a centuries-old Pagan tree-worship ritual known as “Bawming the Thorn” takes place each year on this day. Celebrants hang flowers and garlands from the boughs of an ancient hawthorn tree.


July


3rd: On this day the Cherokee Indians (and other Native American tribes) begin celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance festival to honor the maize goddess Selu and to give thanks for the maize harvest.


7th: Consus, the Roman god of harvests, was commemorated on this day by an annual festival known as the Consualia. The Celtic tree month of Oak (Duir) ends.


8th: Juno Caprotina, the goddess of the fig tree, was venerated on this day by the annual Caprotina festival. Feasts beneath fig trees were held in her honor. The Celtic tree month of Holly (Tinne) begins.


11th: Theano, wife of Pythagoras and the “patroness of vegetarianism,” is honored on this day.


12th: On this day the Iroquois Nations begin celebrating their annual Green Bean festival to give thanks for the bean harvest.


14th: On this day in the year 1988, the first appearance of crop circles on Silbury Hill in England was recorded.


15th: Rowana, the goddess of the rowan tree, was honored on this day by the Norse. The magickal powers of rowan trees are believed by some to be the greatest on this day, which is the reason many Witches and Pagan folk traditionally make protective amulets from rowan wood at this time.


August


1st: Lammas (also known as Lughnasadh), one of the four major sabbats celebrated each year by Witches and other Pagans, is observed on this day. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: acacia flowers, aloes, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak, sunflower, and wheat. As a thanksgiving offering to the Goddess, many Wiccans bake a loaf of corn bread and lay it upon their altar.


4th: The Celtic tree month of Holly (Tinne) ends.


5th: The Celtic tree month of Hazel (Coll) begins.


7th: Gaia Consciousness Day honors Mother Earth in ceremonies of healing and renewal. On this day many Pagans throughout the world meditate upon the Earth as a living entity.


13th: Sleeping with 13 leaves from an ash tree beneath your pillow this night is said to induce dreams of a prophetic nature.


19th: The ancient Romans celebrated the Rustic Vinalia festival each year on this day to celebrate the grape harvest and to honor Venus in her aspect as a goddess of the grape vine.


20th: On this day in the year 1937, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the “Marihuana Tax Act” after engaging in only 90 seconds of debate.


23rd: Vertumnus, the ancient Roman god responsible for changing the seasons and transforming flowers into fruits, was honored on this day by an annual festival known as the Vertumnalia.


25th: Ops, the ancient Roman goddess who presided over sowing and reaping, was honored on this day by an annual festival known as the Opiconsivia.


27th: Legend holds that every year on this day, the anniversary of Saint John the Baptist’s death by beheading, red spots mysteriously appear on the leaves of the Saint John’s wort plant to symbolize the saint’s spilled blood.


September


1st: The Celtic tree month of Hazel (Coll) ends.


2nd: The Celtic tree month of Vine (Muin) begins.


14th: According to folklore from the Middle Ages, every year on this day the Devil roams the forests in search of nuts.


22nd: The Autumn Equinox, one of the four minor (or lesser) sabbats observed by Witches and other Pagans, occurs approximately on this date each year. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: acorns, asters, ferns, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak, passionflower, pine, roses, sage, Solomon’s seal, and thistles.


29th: The Celtic tree month of Vine (Muin) ends.


30th: The Celtic tree month of Ivy (Gort) begins.


October


1st: On this day in the year 1937, the “Marihuana Tax Act” took effect, thus beginning the prohibition of marijuana that remains in place today.


11th: According to a centuries-old legend, bad luck will befall anyone who picks or eats blackberries on this day.


12th: Ameretat (one of the seven emanations of God, said to be the creator and guardian of plants) is honored on this day through the 16th by those who follow the Zoroastrian tradition.


18th: On this day in the year 1616, astrologer and herbalist Nicholas Culpepper was born.


22nd: The annual Day of the Willows festival was celebrated on this day in the ancient Babylonian calendar.


27th: The annual Feast of Osiris at Abydos is observed on this day, paying homage to the Neter of vegetation and offering thanks to him for all fruits of the

earth. The Celtic tree month of Ivy (Gort) ends.


28th: The Celtic tree month of Reed (Ngetal) begins.


31st: Halloween/Samhain Eve. The old Halloween custom of placing a lit candle inside a hollowedout pumpkin was at one time believed to ward off demons and evil spirits who walked the earth on this night. Sleeping with an apple beneath the pillow on Halloween night is an old Pagan method to induce prophetic dreams of a future marriage mate. Other Halloween divinations involving plants include the throwing of nuts into a fire to determine the faithfulness of one’s lover, the tossing of hemp seeds over one’s left shoulder in a churchyard while reciting a special incantation to make a vision of one’s future spouse appear, and the uprooting of a cabbage plant while blindfolded to discover the physical attributes, personality, and profession of one’s husband-to-be.


November


1st: Samhain, one of the four major sabbats celebrated each year by Witches and other Pagans, is observed on this day. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: acorns, apples, broom, deadly nightshade, dittany of Crete, ferns, flax, fumitory, heather, heliotrope, mandrake, mint, mullein, oak, sage, and straw.


11th: In Ireland, the annual Lunantishees festival is held on this day to honor the spirits that inhabit and watch over blackthorn trees, a plant sacred to the fairy-folk. Irish folklore holds that it is extremely unlucky for millers to grind corn on this day.


12th: This day begins the annual 4-day Buffalo Dances, during which the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest offer thanks for the harvest.


16th: In the ancient Egyptian calendar, this day marks the start of the spring sowing season.


24th: The Celtic tree month of Reed (Ngetal) ends.


25th: The Celtic tree month of Elder (Ruis) begins.


December


21st: The Winter Solstice, one of the four minor (or lesser) sabbats observed by Witches and other Pagans, occurs approximately on this date each year. The traditional herbs associated with this sabbat include: bay, bayberry, blessed thistle, cedar, chamomile, evergreen, frankincense, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, moss, pine, rosemary, and sage. Centuries ago, the annual Festival of Evergreen Trees (a medieval version of Arbor Day) was celebrated in Europe by the planting of evergreen trees and the hanging of evergreen wreaths, which symbolized eternal life.


22nd: The Celtic tree month of Elder (Ruis) ends.


23rd: In the old Celtic tree calendar, this day is known as “The Secret of the Unhewn Stone.” It is the one day of the year not ruled by a tree.


24th: Yule logs are traditionally burned on Christmas Eve to ensure good health and good fortune throughout the coming year. In addition, they symbolize the union of the male and female aspects of the Divine. It is said that to avoid bad luck, holly must be picked before Christmas Eve but not brought into the house prior to this day. The Celtic tree month of Birch (Beth) begins.


25th: The traditional herbs of Christmas include: bayberry, holly, ivy, mistletoe, pine, and poinsettia. Kissing while standing beneath a sprig of mistletoe

is traditionally done for good luck. It some parts of England it is believed that cutting mistletoe on any day of the year other than Christmas brings bad luck to one’s family and home.


28th: The Runic half-month of Eoh, which is symbolized by the yew tree, begins on this day.


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This “Wicca How-To,” plus much more, can be found in:

Herbal Magick - A Witchs Guide to Herbal Enchantments, Folklore and Divinations by Gerina Dunwich

This book provides you with everything you need to know about the Pagan lore of plants and how to practice powerful magick utilizing roots, flowers, leaves, and bark. It reveals the well-guarded secrets of herbal enchantments from centuries past, touches on many of the intriguing folkloric beliefs connected to herbs, and provides a satisfying helping of east-to-follow spells for many purposes.