Nov 25 – St. Catherine of Alexandria Day. Famously called St Catherine of the Wheel (due to her martyrdom on a torture wheel) and the origin of “Catherine wheel” as in doing a cartwheel.
Nov 26 – Tibetan Festival of Lights
Nov 27 – Day of Parvati – Hindu Mother of the Universe
– Feast of Ullr: “The Feast of Ullr was to celebrate the Hunt and to gain the personal luck needed for success. Weapons are dedicated on this day to Ullr. If your arms were blessed by the luck of the God of the Hunt, your family and tribe shared the bounty with a Blot and Feast to Ullr .”
4th Thursday of November: Thanksgiving Day – Day to give thanks for religious freedom here in this great country, the fertile abundance of mother earth, and basic necessities of life, “thread, bread, and shed.” (Clothes, food, shelter).
Nov 29 – Egyptian Feast of Hathor – as Sekmet, Lioness and Sun Goddess, the alternate of Bast, the Cat Goddess.
– St Andrew’s Eve. Don’t talk to wolves tonight! This is the one night of the year wolves can speak, and if you hear one, it is said you will die before the year’s out. Also on Andrews-Night or St Andrew’s Eve, still to this day as in centuries past, maidens divine their future husband’s name by writing potential husbands on little pieces of paper and putting them under their pillow (Eastern Europe, Poland) or baking the names into bits of dough and seeing which one floats to the top first. Men and women also on this night do other divinations such as dropping hot wax into cold water, seeing what shape it takes, then from that determining the future spouse’s profession. In Germany they drop hot lead into water and examine the shape for the spouse’s profession or name.
Nov 30 – St. Andrew’s Day. Eat Scottish food!
Last Sunday of November – The last Sunday of November begins Advent, the Festival of Lights for the Coming of the Light of the World – Christian vigil for the birth of the Cosmic Christ. Advent candles are lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas. A purple one on the 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays, and a pink one on the 3rd Sunday. See our Sundays of Advent page. Here’s a traditional Advent Wreath “how-to” page.
Nov 13 Festival of Jupiter – Roman deity associated with rain and agriculture, prime protector of the state, and concerned with all aspects of life.
Roman Fontinalia – Feast of Fons, God of Springs.
Nov 14 Feast of Musicians and Bards – Druid celebration of the Celtic musical arts.
Nov 16 – Night of Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Hags or Wisewomen, (later called Witches), her name comes from Heqa-ma’at, a goddess in the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead who later became Hekmah or Hokmah (also spelled Chokmah) meaning wisdom in the ancient Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). From Heqa-ma’at / Hecate / Hokmah we get the Greek word for wisewoman or holywoman, “hag”. Hecate was goddess of the hags and it was a very complementary thing to be a hag of the Hagia Sophia tradition!
Nov 20 – Day of All Gnostic Saints (see http://www.gnosis.org/ecclesia/cal_mandala.htm for explanation)
Nov 22 – Festival of Diana aka Artemis – Roman Goddess of Moon, Hunt, Wilderness, Birth (pictured above right)
– Feast of Weyland – Norse God of the Smiths aka Volund
Nov 24 – Feast of the Burning Lamps, Egyptian festival
– Celtic Tree Month of Reed ends – Tree Month of Elder begins
Jesus Christ, Wife Mary Magdalene Had 2 Kids, New Book Claims
A new book based on interpretations of ancient texts features an explosive claim: Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene, and the couple had two children.
In “The Lost Gospel,” set for release Wednesday, authors Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson argue that the original Virgin Mary was Jesus’ wife – not his mother – and that there was an assassination attempt on Jesus’ life 13 years before he was crucified.
The writers say they spent six years working on the book. Their arguments are based on an ancient manuscript dating back nearly 1,500 years, one they say they found in a British library, translating the text from an Aramaic dialect into English.
Mark Goodacre, a professor of religious studies at Duke University, is skeptical of the book’s findings.
“I don’t think that there is any credibility in these claims at all,” Goodacre said. “There is simply no evidence in this text or anywhere else that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, much less that they had a couple of children.”
This is not the first assertion that Jesus was married. A fragment of an ancient Egyptian papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was unveiled in 2012, containing the phrase “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife,” although the document was written centuries after Jesus died.
The 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown also highlighted the possibility of Jesus’ having been married to Mary Magdalene.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Personally I do not believe the Virgin Mary was Mary Magdalene…. sheesh, what a stretch to conflate those two! We have the extra-biblical Gospel of Philip that says “Jesus had three Marys in his life, his mother, his sister and his wife”. But this topic is still one of our favorites, and we do believe Jesus and Magdalene were a couple, probably with children, so I will buy the book. Friend (and teacher) Margaret Starbird was interviewed by the author Simcha Jacobovici during the writing of it, so hopefully some of her views will be in there.
Oct 31 – Nov 6 Mid-Autumn / Day of the Dead / Hallowmas – Festival marking the transformation of life to death, the end of the agricultural year, departure of migrating and hibernating animals, and decay and death of vegetal and animal life. Observed by remembering departed ancestors and contemplating one’s own mortality.
Nov 1 – All Saints Day – Christians around the world remember all the dead on this day
– Day of the Banshees, Reign of Celtic Cailleach, Crone Goddess.
Nov 2 – All Souls Day, Christians remember their own dead — relatives, ancestors, beloved dead.
– White Tara Day. Day for meditation on Tantric Bodhisattva Goddess, White Tara, who guides the dead to Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land, where all will find salvation.
Nov 7 – 9 Feast of Divine Justice – Source of just law, honoring Goddess-God as Maat-Thoth (Egyptian); Goddess as Themis (Greek), Justice (Christian), and God as Forseti (Norse).
Nov 8 – Seven Holy Archangels Day (Orthodox Christian). The seven original Archangels to the Eastern Orthodox Church are: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and the fallen Lucifer. Lucifer lost his place to another Archangel but the various lists can’t make their minds up about the name of the new archangel. Baracael, Ieadiel, Sealtiel, Peliel, and Gamael are some of the possibilities. The Book of Enoch says: The big four plus Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three.
Nov 11 Feast of Dionysus – Greek God whom Yeshua was “connected to” as the Cosmic Gnosis.
– Celtic New Year and feast of Cerridwen (Goddess of Death) and Beli (the Holly King, God of the Waning Sun).
Oct 31 – Nov 2 Descent of Inanna – Sumerian fast recalling the descent of Inanna (Goddess of Life) to the Underworld. Ereshkigal (Goddess of Death and Rebirth) detained Her until She agreed to have Dumuzi (God of Life and Death) remain there each Winter.
Here’s an old Hallowe’en article I wrote (in 2007) for the Fellowship of Isis publication
Goddesses of Hallowe-en
by Rev. Katia Romanoff
Is there a goddess of Samhain (a Celtic word meaning literally, “Summer‘s End”)? You might be surprised at who it is, and that there is actually more than one.
The primary goddess of Samhain is none other than Isis, Divine Mother of Egypt, the Greco-Roman world and the Western World.
Samhain (called Halloween in Christianity), is actually a 3-day festival in both Christian and pagan calendars. Christianity has All Saints Day, which falls on November 1st and is preceded by All Hallows Eve (Halloween) on October 31st, and followed by All Souls Day on November 2nd. All Hallows, All Saints and All Souls … a time when ghosts and spirits pass between worlds and once again walk the earth …
In the ancient “pagan” world, this 3-day event also began on October 31st. The holiday was called the Isia and the Finding of Osiris. On the 3rd day of the Isia came the most pivotal event in Isis-Osiris theology: Osiris was resurrected from the dead by Isis, making this a very significant day to our ancestors, and a sort of Egyptian Easter! “Arise my love,” she said to him, just as the Judeo-Christian God (or perhaps Mary Magdalene!) said to Jesus in his tomb on the 3rd day.
Lawrence Durdin-Robertson reported in his Perpetual Calendar of the Fellowship of Isis an excerpt from Martin A. Larson’s scholarly work, Religion of the Occident, (Philosophical Library, 1959). Larson writes: “… it usually began on October 31st … On the two days following, the portions of Osiris were found, reconstituted, and resurrected. This was the central element in the myth, for if Osiris could regain life and become immortal through the power of Isis, then all her devotees could do the same.”
We see why Isis is called Savior. No wonder she was the single most popular deity to the ancients. As for her being a goddess of Samhain, this ancient 3 day holiday was called the Isia in her honor. It is this time of year the veils between worlds become thin, making possible the passage back from the realm of the dead.
Spirits and Demons Come Out, Evil is Supposedly Ascendant
“The Celtic day of ‘summer’s end’ was a time when spirits, mostly evil, were abroad … the festivals of All Saints’ and All Souls’ coming at the same time of year – the first of November – contributed the idea of the return of the dead; and the Teutonic May Eve assemblage of witches brought its hags and their attendant beasts to help celebrate the night of October 31st.
“Samhain was then a day sacred to the death of the sun, on which had been paid a sacrifice of death to evil powers … evil was ascendant at Samhain. Methods of finding our the will of spirits and the future naturally worked better then charms and invocations had more power, for the spirits were near to help, if care was taken not to anger them, and due honors paid.” – (Ruth Edna Kelley, Book of Hallowe’en, 1919.)
“At such times it was considered that the veil between this world and the next was thin and that denizens of the dead, spirits and demons were abroad. Moreover, that it was the best time to conduct magical rites.” – (Andrew Collins, The Roots & Reality in Magic & Witchcraft, lecture, 2000)
Can you feel it? – your ancestors and All Souls of the departed tugging at you? Saints – holy women and men – are also said to touch base with humans at this time, passing between realms. For centuries upon centuries humans have sensed this eerie presence every Samhain. We have responded in various ways such as putting candles in windows to guide departed relatives back “home” for the night, carving gourds into skulls or heads and using them as lamps, dressing in black, wearing costumes to confuse the walking-dead or to scare off the “goblins” and “ghouls”.
The ghosts, spirits and realm of the dead stuff was frightening as hell to our ancestors, and still scares people today. But that’s not the only horror story behind Halloween.
Devouring One Third of the Children
Have you ever seen those little black and orange booklets called Chick Tracts circulated by hyper-fundamentalist Christians every Halloween? They “explain” the Jack-o-Lantern’s supposed human sacrifice connection and condemn Trick-or-Treating and Jack-o-Lanterns as evil Satan worship.
Well, Jack Chick, author of those ridiculous tracts, despite stupidly equating Druids to Satanists, is onto something about demons and Halloween. “Demons” is a harsh-sounding Christian word but such dark critters probably do exist and are called by various names: Fomori (Ireland), Asuras (India), Oni (Japan) and demons (Middle East, Europe). The Fomori would come to Ireland and Britain every November 1st to collect a horrible tax: one third of all the grain and milk, and — horror of horror — one third of all the children. Imagine being a parent, or imagine being a kid when this time of year came round!
According to Celtic mythology it clearly was not the Druids, but real demons going door to door taking one child or youth from each home. Druids never practiced child sacrifice, but demons (or humans disguised as demons) may have been child snatchers. It is reminiscent of modern-day UFO abductions. Perhaps an even better modern example of child snatching is this staggering statistic: thousands of children go missing every day, 2300 daily just in the USA, only 20% of which are family abductions.
Historically, foreign invaders would suddenly sweep into our ancestors’ villages and snatch up youths and older children for the slave market. Cruel kings occasionally sent raiders disguised as demons (so the king would remain blameless) to grab youths for slavery. For untold centuries the lure of the slave trade profit was a constant motivation to invade and kidnap the young. Tragically, kidnapping and human slavery goes on today in several parts of the world such as Eastern Europe, India, China and Africa, the latter still the busiest market of all. The modern kidnapping-slave-trade remains vastly under-reported.
Child and youth snatching terrifies modern people and we know it is not supernatural, so imagine the hell our superstitious ancestors went through every Samhain worried if their child would be “taken” and devoured by demonic beings. The kids weren’t too thrilled with it either! How much scarier their campfire horror stories were back then. Because of this terror, every Samhain people would dress in black, gather their cattle from the fields, and hunker down indoors. They would huddle in fear all day long. Our ancestors carved gourds in the shape of heads, lit them as lamps and placed them outside the door to say, “a youth was already taken from this home, pass over”. They laid out treats and other tasty offerings to pacify the hungry soul-snatchers. Fear gripped them for three days. Not exactly a fun holiday. At last the gods, the shining Tuatha de Danaan (meaning “children of the Goddess Dana), heard the peoples’ anguish and arrived on the night before November 1st to stop the demons once and for all from collecting this hideous annual soul tax. Gods and demons fought an Armageddon-like battle resulting in defeat for the Fomors (or Fomori), whom the gods pushed back into the sea of destruction forever.
We are still re-enacting this event thousands of years later when we light a carved gourd (pumpkins are technically large gourds, therefore perfectly suitable for this tradition), or when we dress up as something scary or demonic.
People also believed one could scare ghosts back to where they belonged by dressing up as even scarier creatures. There was also a need to confuse the zombies and ghosts who walked among the living by dressing up like them. Even children might be dressed as little goblins so as not to be snatched up. If you look like a member of the walking dead yourself, the hungry spirits won’t jump into your body and possess you.
Other fears created Halloween customs. The flight of the hags (wisewomen, not evil “witches”) took place only twice a year – on May Eve and November Eve. The hags were not shriveled up old ladies, but lovely silver and white-haired women who would fly through the air over the villages to cleanse the atmosphere of negativity as part of the change of seasons. The number one cleansing tool was the broom. Like baptismal water, the broom has supernatural powers to cleanse both in the physical realm and the unseen realm. Thus we have witches on brooms. In Germany and other parts of Northern Europe it is believed a battle between good and evil (bad spirits, demons, goblins) takes place when the winds of season change blow. To this day in Europe every May Eve and November Eve, children leave one window open in case a passing hag fighting the battle in the skies overhead, needs to come in and take a rest. If a hag does enter and rest awhile, she leaves behind a gold coin on the windowsill to be discovered by the child in the morning.
After the first age of enlightenment — aka the Renaissance — came along bringing Hermeticism (wisdom of Egypt, sacred geometry and Greek paganism), Kabbalah and other wisdom traditions, not to mention more widespread literacy, the horrible fear of being snatched and devoured by demons associated with Halloween was removed. Fathers and young men of your clan might still, as they do today, enjoy scaring the daylights out of women and children.
Revelry goes hand in hand with frightening antics since the adrenaline rush causes pleasure and increases sex drive. Scaring the ladies and maidens, like modern horror movies, may have been yet another method males of the species employed to get females to cozy up to them. Pranks among males increase bonding, too, with fathers trying to scare their sons, and young men creating elaborate pranks to scare and get the best of each other. Ah, the togetherness of holidays.
Goddess of the Witches
There is one other goddess of Halloween. Because of the presence of witches, Hekate is connected to this holiday. It makes sense; she is a venerable ancient divine figure. However, Hekate was not originally known as the goddess of the witches, but was actually a manifestation of Isis, their names merged in the compound name Isis-Heket. Hekate was a wisdom goddess whose name derives directly from goddess Heq-ma’a or Heka ma’at in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a scripture pre-dating the entire Bible by centuries.
Intriguingly, the etymological origins of both the Hebrew Hokmah (also spelled Chokmah) and Hekate come from this same goddess name in The Book of the Dead. “The Egyptian heq-ma’a or heka ma’at, [is] loosely translated to mean ‘Underworld Mother of Wisdom, Law, and Words of Power.’” (Scott Fray & Marybeth Witt, Heket: Exceed your Prosthesis, web article, 2005, all about Hekate).
Because Hokmah means Wisdom, it is always translated in both Old and New Testaments of the Judeo-Christian Bible as Sophia. Hekate and Isis are one in the same. The one God or one Godd-ess truly has 10,000 names, as is a title of Isis: “She of 10,000 names”. Isis says to Apuleius in the 2000 year old Isian classic, Metamorphoses (better known as The Golden Ass):
“You see me here. I am Nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual…the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are …Though I am worshipped in many aspects. Known by countless names, and propitiated with all manner of different rites, yet the whole round earth venerates me. The primeval Phrygians called me Pessinuntica, Mother of the gods; the Athenians, sprung from their own soil, call me Cecropian Artemis; for the islanders of Cyprus, I am Paphian Aphrodite; for the archers of Crete, I am Dictynna; for the trilingual Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine; and for the Eleusinians and their ancient Mother of the Corn. Some know me as Juno, some as Bellona of the battles, others, Hecate …The Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship me with ceremonies proper to my godhead, call me by my true name … Queen Isis.” (R. Witt, 121, 148-9, 276; Apuleius, R. Graves transl., 264-5.)
Welcome to the Dark Time of the Year
Now begins our dormant time of rejuvenation. Nature recharges her batteries during the “Long Sleep” of the year’s evening and night. Every rotation (each day) living creatures like us and everything else need a dark time away from the sun. It is necessary for life. The moon is positioned just perfectly so that it doesn’t reflect too much light on us. If the dark side of the moon were the one facing earth at all times the health of plants, animals, and humans would suffer because it would create too bright a light. The dark side of the moon doesn’t have the hollows and craters, which dull the sun’s reflective rays. The plant and animal world would not survive if this daily dormant time were disturbed. In the same way we need sunset, we also need summer’s end, Samhain, and the dormant recharging time of each year.
You may notice in Fall many people get slammed with depression. Some people just can’t get up in the morning, or get moody or deeply sad because subconsciously they can’t handle the sun setting so early. The darkness is encroaching into our lives, and it triggers psychological and physiological changes. Light and the absence thereof profoundly affect all aspects of life. Just look at the trees and grass. What a dramatic life cycle they go through annually. Another excerpt from Ruth Edna Kelley’s 1919 Book of Hallowe’en says: “The pagan Hallowe’en at the end of summer was a time of grief for the decline of the sun’s glory, as well as a harvest festival of thanksgiving to him for having ripened the grain and fruit …”
If this time of “grief” and depression is getting you a bit down, try to sense the Holy Ones, the Wise Ones – “hags” – sweeping into town, swirling and swooshing above with the Winds of Change. Feel them cleansing the bad nasties out of your world. Try to viscerally sense that broom brushing over your life. An appropriate and powerful exercise for Summer’s End depression is to get a new corn broom and place it by a door or window. There are some nice looking black-handled children’s corn brooms at the big hardware stores that I like to get and hang on a hook by the door or even beside a window. Full-size corn brooms are fine too, as are the nifty primitive handmade ones. Look at your broom; touch it from time to time, especially touching the handle when leaving the house into the cold or dark. Perhaps decorate it. Look up at it a minute whenever the darkness or depression gets to you. When you are feeling overly depressed, weepy or overwhelmed, take it and sit with it, running your hand over the bristles. Feel their texture, smell their corn or wild grass aroma.
Know that not only are the elemental “hags” of the universe on your side with their fearless ability to “ride the darkness”, but so is the great Resurrectrix, Goddess Isis. She who overcame death at this exact time of year is always with you and says, “Arise my love. Come unto me and go forth by day into a realm that is always light. For we know the world is not dying, does not perish, but merely rests for life’s sake, dormant in the Dark.”
Another Quick Exercise
Think a minute of a few ways you can deal with the dark, harness its power. Make two lists either mentally or literally with the following titles:
1. Dealing with the Dark
What coping strategies do you have for getting thru the fall freak-outs and winter doldrums? Maybe hanging out with spiritually like-minded folk either on-line or in person. Maybe doing something magikal. No matter what it is or how small a gesture, if it is magikal, it will bring a spark of light to your soul just as good as the sun’s summer rays.
2. Harnessing the Darktime
How can you put the Darktime to work for you and your goals? Maybe plan your garden, your spring. Or plan your life! According to our ancestral tradition it is a brand new year now, and your DNA is sensing that. Use it. Channel it.
Absorb the Calendar
Make the calendar of the Holy Year part of you. Special spiritual energy is released on all major holidays. Pull it in. Put it to work helping you toward your goals whether they be spiritual or material.
Ruth Edna Kelley writes in her 1919 Book of Hallowe’en that “May Day and November Day” are the two most important holidays to northern European peoples, “the beginning and end of summer, yet neither [are] equinoxes nor solstices.”
“Samhain was an ancient Celtic festival, known in modern times as Halloween, marking the start of winter and the ascendance of the powers of blights, decay, and death. It was the boundary between one year and the next, and so doubly magickal. At Samhain the material and spiritual worlds unite.” (Anna Franklin, Working With Fairies, Career Press, 2005).
“Tradition asserts that the witches of the Middle Ages came together four times of the year: 2 February (Candlemass, Celtic Imbolc), May Eve (Beltane or Walpurgisnacht), 1 August (Lammastide, Celtic Lugnasadh) and 31 October (Halloween, Samhain). These dates correspond with the four cross-quarter days, the maidway points between the equinoxes and solstices. Some traditions also suggest there were two additional dates, the solstices themselves, defined as St. John’s Eve, 23 June, and St. Thomas’ day, 21 December (Norse Yule or midwinter’s day).” (Andrew Collins, The Roots & Reality in Magic & Witchcraft, Lecture, 2000)
The equinoxes and solstices are the four annual quarter days. They are like the quarter points on the clock, 12, 3, 6 and 9. Visualize a plus sign +. Then we have the four cross quarter days that come halfway between the 12, 3, 6 and 9. Visualize an X over top of the + (plus sign). An X with a plus sign overlapping each other creates an asterisk. *. A star with eight rays. The Star of Isis, some call it. You can make the sign of the Star of Isis on your body by making the sign of the cross (like Catholics and East Orthodox Christians do; I personally prefer the Eastern Church’s version in which you touch forehead, abdomen, right shoulder and then left shoulder) and then finishing by crossing your arms over your chest in an X. Hold your X-arms there a moment.
You are absorbing the calendar’s potent energies and actually aligning your body, mind and soul with the holy year. The year is made up of time, space and motion; and the orbs we call home, moon and sun. It is our sacred spiral dance round the sun star that gives us life in Her name.
About the Author: Rev. Katia Romanoff is Directress of the online Esoteric Mystery School Lyceum of the Esoteric Mysteries, a place of learning and devotion to Goddess and God, as well as a thriving on-line community of “occult” and Gnostic Christian Pagan tradition since 1999.
Esoteric Mystery School website: http://www.northernway.org
Oct 18 English Great Horn Fair – Festival of Herne.
* Oct 24 Raphaelmas, Feast of Archangel Raphael, whose name means, “The High One Heals.” Since 1970, the Catholic Church no longer recognizes this day for Raphael, ending more than a thousand years of tradition by opting to lump him in with Gabriel and Michael for a Feast of the Holy Archangels Day on Sept 29. Most people know Raphael is the angel of healing, but he is also the angel of marriage. So if you are planning a wedding, this might be a good day to choose!
Oct 24 – Druid Feast for Spirits of Air
Oct 28 Feast of Baba and Dedo – Slavic protectors of families and elders.
Oct 28 – Nov 3 Isia – Egyptian festival recalling Set (God of Destruction) killing God Osiris; Goddess Isis mourning Him, resurrecting Him, and conceiving God Horus with Him; and Osiris becoming Lord of Amenta, land of the dead. He weighs souls against the Feather of Truth on Goddess Maat’s Scale of Justice, but defers to Isis for those who fail the test.
Oct 31 – Nov 2 Descent of Inanna – Sumerian fast recalling the descent of Inanna (Goddess of Life) to the Underworld. Ereshkigal (Goddess of Death and Rebirth) detained Her until She agreed to have Dumuzi (God of Life and Death) remain there each Winter.
Fast of Hod – Norse fast marking Hod (blind God of Darkness) unintentionally killing Balder (God of Light), and devoted Nanna (Goddess of Flowers) dying of a broken heart.
October’s Variable (Movable) Holidays: * Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement – End of the 10 Days of Awe, when the Gates of Heaven go closed again. A day of fasting and repenting for any mistakes made during the year. Yom Kippur is the last of the Ten Days of Awe in Hebrew lore. The first of the Ten Days of Awe is Rosh Hoshanah, the Jewish New Year, when the gates of heaven are said to be flung open allowing blessings rain upon us for Ten Days when it goes shut again. “May your name be written in the book of life,” is the greeting Jews use during the Ten Days of Awe because on Yom Kippur, the solemn day of atonement, the gates and the book go shut again.
* Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali. India’s Lunar New Year. Celebrated for 3 days up to and including the New Moon. Goddess Lakshmi and her husband God Vishnu are invoked for prosperity
On this day — October the 13th — in 1307 the Knights Templar members were declared heretics and rounded up en masse to be burned at the stake. It happened on a Friday the 13th and is the origin of that day’s unluckiness, say historians.
Our New Order of the Knights Templar has observed this day for a couple of decades now by wearing black and fasting. In this way we honor our Templars of the past and connect with them in the present.
Light fasting is okay for those of you whose health conditions prevent full fasting.
The original mission of our Templar brothers and sisters of the past was to protect Christian pilgrims from Muslim attack as they traveled to worship at sacred sites. Millions of Muslims travel to Mecca each year, but about a thousand years ago, tens of thousands of Christian devotees would make pilgrimages to visit Jerusalem and other sites holy to their religion. The muslims in charge didn’t want them coming, so they gave their soldiers standing orders to murder Christian visitors on site — after robbing them and sometimes worse. The Templars were founded approximately a thousand years ago to stop these attacks and protect the Christian devotee pilgrims. They ended up in many a pitched battle with Muslim armies.
If a Templar were caught he would be automatically beheaded rather than offered the option to convert to Islam. Templars were not given the “traditional” option to convert to Islam because the Muslims knew they would never renounce their faith, even to avoid beheading. Every year since 1999 I post to our Templar members on YahooGroups about Templar Remembrance Day, how we observe it with fasting and wearing black, and mention this beheading thing. I looked at last year’s post. My words are almost identical. Last year I mentioned forced conversions of Christians in Syria and Egypt. I had no idea that this year we would ALL know what beheading was like. Who knew that vile practice would be revived again by the dark side of Islam? Of course they behead their own “criminals” in Saudi Arabia in a regular gruesome way (Saudi citizens are so oppressed), but this Muslims vs. the West beheading crap has not been seen for centuries.
Last year I also said this: The enemy is on the rise, so let us not forget today, our special Templar-Veterans Day. It is believed that those Templar “veterans” of the past rise up whenever religious minorities of the West (especially Christians and Jews) are under attack.
Join with your fellow Templars of the present in wearing black and fasting today. Renew your vow to protect religious minorities.
Grow your beard out, act like a Viking! The Vikings beat Columbus to the “New World” by over a hundred years, so today should be the holiday, not Columbus Day! What did he name this land he discovered? Vineland. Because of all the greenery. Are we thus living in Vinland or Vinlandia, not America?
Leif Erikson is a cool dude because he managed to combine his father Erik the Red’s Norse Heathenism (aka Viking religion, aka Asatru) with his mother’s new Christianity. He was a very interfaith or dual-faith guy, and we here at the NorthernWay Mystery School show people they can be dual-faith, too. See some of our courses on Viking Religion in our Teutonic (Germanic) study hall. Some lessons are mixed with primitive earliest Christianity, but many are true heathen teachings or “tru” as the Vikings say.
Oct 4 – St. Francis of Assisi Day, one of the most “pagan” of the Christian saints, he coined terms “brother sun, sister moon”, and honored the covenant between humans and the animal kingdom. His mother is rumored to have been a closet Cathar heretic.
Oct 9 – 11 Feast of Divine Wisdom – Source of all knowledge, honoring God-Goddess as Odin-Frigg (Norse); and Goddess as Sophia / Wisdom (Christian), Truth / Maat (Egyptian), Metis (Greek), Sarasvati (Hindu), & Manat (Arabic-Sufi).
You’ve heard of Christ-mas, but have you heard of Michael-mas? It is believed the angels come down today and feast with us. All I know is, we are supposed to eat carrots for this holy day…
September 29, Michaelmas
by Soror Majad, aka Debbie Van Neste, Enochian Adept & one of our Mystery School Initiates
This is the feast day of St. Michael and all the Angels. It is the most ancient of all the angel festivals.
From fairly early on, Michaelmas was an important holiday, the religious or Christian equivalent of the autumn equinox. In England, it was considered the start of a new quarter. It marked the start of a new business year, a time for electing officials, making contracts, paying rent, hiring servants, holding court and starting school.
Obviously we still see the remnants of this in the timing of our elections and school year.
This is also a time when the weather is known to change. In Italy, they say “For St. Michael, heat goes into the heavens.” In Ireland, people expect a marked decrease in sickness or disease. The Irish also consider this a lucky day for fishing:
Plenty comes to the boat on Michael’s Day.
Barolini records a nursery rhyme about hours of sleep:
Nature requires five,
Custom gives seven,
Laziness takes nine
And Michaelmas eleven.
Michaelmas became the fixed date for the feast otherwise associated with Autumn Equinox or the harvest. As early as 1014, the laws of Ethelred in England prescribe a three day fast for all Christians before the feast. Servants weren’t allowed to work during these days. Michaelmas was a time when rents were due, and rents were often paid in food. The traditional rent for Michaelmas was a goose.
Eating something rich like goose at this turning point of the year brings good luck. In Nottingham they say “If you eat roast goose on Michaelmas day, you will never want money all year.” In Norfolk, they say, “if you don’t baste the goose on Michaelmas Day, you will want money all year.”
In Yorkshire, they use the condition of the meat of the goose to predict the weather:
If the goose breast at Michaelmas be dour and dull
We’ll have a sour winter, from the start to the full.
Fitzgibbon says the Irish used to stuff the goose with potato to cut the grease and absorb the flavor. This is like the traditional onion sauce served with goose in the 18th and 19th centuries and made from onions cooked in half milk and half water, with a slice of turnip, then mixed with butter, nutmeg, cream, salt and pepper and mashed. Apple sauce is the most common topping today.
In Italy, where this is clearly considered a harvest festival, they say “For St. Michael all the last fruits of the year are honeyed and ripe.”
Cosman says that it is traditional to eat ginger on Michaelmas. She mentions ginger ale, beer and wine, gingerbread, ginger snaps, fish baked with ginger and two ginger desserts: charwardon (made with large succulent wardon pears, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger) and ginger caramels with curls of ginger-root shavings on top.
Michaelmas daisy is the name given to flowers of the aster family which bloom at this time. I’ve seen it applied mostly to purple asters but Barolini says she used to pick yellow Michaelmas daisies on the beaches near Rome. She also made a yellow sponge cake called “Margherita” (daisy) on that day.
Michael is a warrior angel often pictured poised with a sword over a dragon (or demon) that he tramples underfoot. Other times he rides a white steed, and carries a three-pronged spear in his right hand and a three-cornered shield in his left. He cast Lucifer and the other evil angels out of Paradise. Thus, in the Middle Ages was invoked as the patron of knights and warriors.
He’s been honored since ancient times as a protector. Most of his churches are on high places, for instance, Mont St. Michel in Brittany, the church on the tor at Glastonbury, the church on the tumulus at Carnac. They were often built on the sites where Lugh, the Celtic God of Light, was worshipped earlier.
Although all angels are sent as messengers from on high, Michael has a special task. He’s sent to fetch the souls of those who have died for judgement. For this reason he is also considered the patron saint of all trades that use scales which mean he looks after pastry chefs and weighers of grain.
My friend Carolee Colter translated this Litany of Saint Michael from the French prayer card she purchased while visiting Mont St Michel in Brittany:
Saint Michael, archangel, pray for us.
Saint Michael, chief of all the angels, pray for us.
Saint Michael, filled with the wisdom of God, pray for us.
Saint Michael, very glorious prince, pray for us.
Saint Michael, strong in combat, pray for us.
Saint Michael, terror of demons, pray for us.
Saint Michael, vanquisher of Satan, pray for us.
Saint Michael, our support in the fight against evil, pray for us.
Saint Michael, prince of the celestial militia, pray for us.
Saint Michael, faithful servant of God, pray for us.
Saint Michael, messenger of God, pray for us.
Saint Michael, angel of peace, pray for us.
Saint Michael, guardian of Paradise, pray for us.
Saint Michael, support of the people of God, pray for us.
Saint Michael, guardian and patron of the church, pray for us.
Saint Michael, benefactor of people who honor you, pray for us.
Saint Michael, whose prayers reach to heaven, pray for us.
Saint Michael, who introduces souls to the eternal light, pray for us.
Pray for us, Saint Michael, archangel.
Elegba: In the voodoo tradition, Michael is equated with Elegba, the messenger god. All ceremonies begin and end with petitions to Elegba, the god of the crossroads, whose shrine is behind the door.
Barolini, Helen, Festa: Recipes and Recollections of Italian Holidays, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1988
Cosman, Madeleine Pelner, Medieval Holidays and Festivals: A Calendar of Celebrations, Scribners
Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990
Fitzgibbon, Theodora, A Taste of Ireland: Irish Traditional Foods, NY: Avenel Books 1978, p 105
Knightly, Charles, The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, Thames and Hudson 1987
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For more on Michaelmas and the fascinating traditions that our foremothers and fathers kept on this day, visit these sites: