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.

27 th: 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.

27 th: 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 hollowed-out 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: bay-berry, 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.

Elemental Magick

Air:

By element of liberation, Breath of life and transformation, Winds of change and good vibration, Bless these words of incantation.

Fire:

Vibrant energies that ignite Flames of passion burning bright, Dragon sun of golden light Empowers with the Horned Ones might.

Water:

Secrets of the moon-kissed ocean Dancing with unending motion, Witch's cauldron full of potion Brews a spell charged with emotion.

Earth:

From root and skull to skull and bone, Pyramid to runes of stone, Seeds of magick now be sown And grow for the Maiden, The Mother, and Crone.

Storm and fire, land and sea, Enchant this magick rhyme for me.

In perfect love these words are stated And in perfect trust created. Now this magick rhyme is done, This charm is fixed and it harms none.

-from Priestess and Pentacle by Gerina Dunwich

Bibliography

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O'Rush, Claire. The Enchanted Garden. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 1996.

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Reader's Digest. Magic and Medicine of Plants. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association, 1986.

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