Joanna Bristow Watkins Harmony Healing Director

New Moon & Chinese New Year, 15th/16th February 2018

Thursday 15th February is the New Moon @ 21.06.New Moon image cropped toght

This New Moon Abundance ritual  should be carried out within 24 hours after the New Moon. 

It is a good day for creating a personal or corporate Vision Board for the remainder of 2018. 

Friday 16th February is the Chinese and Japanese Lunar New Year, following the New Moon. Celebrate with vegetarian snacks and fireworks, drums and cymbals from sunset onwards. Spring clean your house in preparation and decorate with strips of red paper with messages of long life, health, wealth & happiness. Visit friends and family, buy new clothes, especially shoes and settle debts.

The actual date of the Chinese New Year (also called the Spring Festival) changes from year to year.  This is because it is determined by the lunisolar Chinese calendar.  The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the New Year.

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals, which are rotated from those in the Chinese zodiac. Similar to the Western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 houses, but with the major difference being that each house lasts one year instead of one month.  In addition each year is allocated one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) and these are changed every two years. So after the New Year has occurred:

Years ending in the numbers 4 or 5 = Wood
Years ending in the numbers 6 or 7 = Fire
Years ending in the numbers 8 or 9 = Earth
Years ending in the numbers 0 or 1 = Metal
Years ending in the numbers 2 or 3 = Water

freepik.com chinese new year concept with golden dog 23 2147732447The year just ending is the Fire (or Red) Rooster. 

This will be the New Year of the Golden (or Yellow, or in some areas Brown depending on the colour seen as best suited to the earth element) Earth Dog. The dog is independent, clever and sincere. As man's best friend they are seen as extremely devoted and loyal; they can be relied upon to stick with you. Dogs are also pack animals, but which sometimes like to run off on their own.

The Year of the Dog is the eleventh animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Dog will be in 2030. Dog image on the right is a background vector created by Freepik.

The element of Earth represents growth and nourishment, associated with harmony, practicality and hard work. Earth anchors and sustains you and seeks to nurture and be nurtured. According to chinesefortunecalendar.com, 2018 is male earth dog and male earth is associated with dry soil, mounds, walls or mountains, so 2018 will be a very strong Earth. Hence events linked to real estate, land, agriculture, territories, minerals and earthquakes will be active. Chinese Astrology also connects Earth to meditation, stability and religion, so there will be a growth in religious and spiritual studies.

A hard working and loyal Dog, combined with the sensible and steady Earth indicates a rewarding, secure and profitable year. Apparently it's a year when projects can blossom and thrive! The Earth Dog combines the diligence and integrity of the dog with a 'down-to-earth' climate, ideal for enduring enterprises which require persistence and tenacity. Investments in real estate are favoured in the year of the golden dog.

So the advice is to take advantage of a year of unity, peace and goodwill which will reward those who are hard working and persistent. Those who have the courage to face challenges and persevere will be recompensed. For more on your Chinese astrology see china-family-adventure.com.

According to MoscowTimes.com, after the 2017 Year of the Rooster, appertaining to eccentricities, whims and a fight for pecking order [which world leader(s) elected in during 2017 could that remind you of?], the year of the Golden Earth Dog has potential for more solidarity, communication and co-operation. However, dogfights could erupt from the alpha male issue and rival small-knit splinter groups could form.  But provided the alpha male run-ins can be avoided, 2018 could herald a year for brotherhood philosophies, industrial scale collaborations and new policies of social justice and empathy, so here's hoping ...

London hosts the largest Chinese New Year Celebrations outside Asia.  With the exact time of the New Moon falling around 9pm on Thursday 15th January, New Years Eve will be celebrated from the 15th with New Year's Day on Friday 16th, but the London celebrations are happening on Sunday 18th. See this link for full details.

 

Valentine's Day, Wednesday 14th February 2018

valentine heartWednesday 14th February - is Valentine's Day and is all about love and compassion, which includes Universal Love for all other living things and also Self-love which is so often overlooked.  I would be delighted if you choose to share this blog with others who might enjoy it, you can use the social media share buttons at the top.

Some bitterly refer to it as Singles Awareness Day and blame card manufacturers and our materialistic society for love being ritualistically forced upon us every year at this time. 
 
However, although the story of 'Saint' Valentine long precedes Hallmark et al, the origins are somewhat blurred as there are historical references to the existence of several different Valentines. Folklore indicates that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage as he believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Valentine, however, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages in secret. Claudius found out and Valentine was imprisoned, where one version of the legend indicates he befriended a jailer with a blind daughter and he may have somehow managed to restore her sight, resulting in the jailer converting to Christianity. Claudius ordered that Valentine be executed on February 14th and allegedly before his death sentence was carried out, he sent a note to the jailer's daughter and signed it, "From Your Valentine." Hence Valentine's Day is celebrated in his memory. 
  
However, his death day and his association with lovers and notes may have been convenient for Roman Christians looking for ways to blend existing Pagan/Roman celebrations into their Calendar. 

Ash Wednesday, 14th February 2018

ash wednesday image cropped

Wednesday 14th February this year is also Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is generally said to have been named after the tradition of burning away old issues in preparation for Lent. 

The date of Lent - which takes place in either February or March but always seven weeks before Easter - varies from year to year according to the lunar calendar which determines when Easter falls. 

However, Ash Wednesday could have obtained its name from an apparent tradition of placing a stick of Ash down one's sock for good luck!  

Ouch, I can't see that being popular, but then maybe a smaller stick would have been advisable!

Interestingly, Ash Wednesday, although observed as a Christian Festival probably orginated as a Pagan Festival. It certainly isn't mentioned in the Bible, although in Biblical times, sprinkling oneself with dust and ashes was part of a Indian Vedic tradition as a mark of repentance, and repentance rituals were generally often accompanied with fasting. Furthermore, the German Pagans had a traditiun of putting ashes over their brows to secure protection of the Norse God Odin (one of Odin's names in Norse is Ygg, which also means ash). Wednesday was Odin's day (our weekday name is directly derived from 'Odinsday'). It was only accepted into Catholic Church beliefs at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The council also approved a 40-day fast duration to celebrate Lent.  This was the time period during which Constantine was striving for a harmonous union between the Christians and Pagans within the Roman Empire.

The start date of Lent was still under debate even after the Council of Niceaa. Pope Gregory, in 601, moved the commencement of Lent to Ash Wednesday (from the fourth Sunday of the year); this being 46 days before Easter. This allowed for 40 days of fasting with the six Sundays counting as feast days, making a total of 46 days for Lent. The tradition of using ashes to create the hape of a cross on parishioners foreheads was also instigated by Pope Gregory. 

See bibleinfo.com, beaconoftruth.com, plant-lorecom websites for references

Mardi Gras, 13th February 2018

Blueberry pancakes 1Tuesday 13th February is Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, or within the UK as Pancake Day. Being the final day before Lent, this was traditionally a day for confessing sins and using up all the foods banned during the Lent fast. With pancakes containing butter and milk, they became associated with the date.

The verb 'shrive' means to gain absolution for one's sins through confession and/or penance. Hence Shrove Tuesday is derived from the tradition that Christians were 'shriven' before Lent. The date of Lent - which takes place in either February or March but always seven weeks before Easter - varies from year to year according to the lunar calendar which determines when Easter falls.

Interestingly, as with many Christian Festivals, there is a theory that Pancake Day might actually have originated as a Pagan holiday; when eating warm, circular yellow pancakes - resembling the sun - celebrated the arrival of spring.

Image of blueberry pancakes, above, is by jeffreyw (mmm... pancakes  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.

Setsubun Bean-Throwing Festival, Saturday 3rd February 2018

Setsubun hiragi iwashi ward away evil spritsSaturday 3rd February is Setsubun Bean-Throwing Festival, which is the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan.

The name literally means "seasonal division", but usually the term refers to the Spring Setsubun, celebrated yearly on February 3rd as part of the Spring Festival and accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.

The image [by Tonusamuel, own work, licensed via Wikimedia Commons] is of a sardine head taliman, placed on a house to keep bad spirits away. 

Imbolc 2018

shutterstock 114601966 Pagan wheelThursday 1st February & Friday 2nd February is the Pagan Imbolc Ceremony, which is one of the four Great Celtic Festivals (between the Soltices and equinoxes), and which is a Wiccan, Gaelic and Druid Festival of Fertility and Growing Light. Imbolc (pronounced EE-molk) is the old Celtic word, the celebration is also known as Candlemas.

It is sacred to the Goddess Brigit or Bridie, the power of the new moon, the Spring of the year, the flowing sea, corn dollies and the Great Moon Mother - Patroness of Poetry Making and Healing. Brigid is a triple Goddess, so she can be honoured in all her aspects, she is associated with fire, fertility, midwifery and the young. 

The Imbolc Festival marks the passing of Winter and the first signs of Spring, with the emergence of new leaves and early flowers such as the snowdrop and crocus, as well as being the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of the Crone to the Maiden. 

Imbolc is a Fire Festival and it is traditional, at sunset, to briefly light every light in the house. Or light candles in each toom to celebrate the return of the sun. If it's been snowing, take time to enjoy walking in the snow, draw an image of the sun into the snow and relect on the sun's warmth.

Traditional foods for Imbolc include anything dairy, including sour cream, as the Festival celebrated the calving season. Spicy and rich foods, such as curry or anything made with peppers, leeks, onion, chives and/or garlic are appropriate to celebrate the sun, together with mulled wine and anything containing raisins which also represent the sun.

It's also a good time to clear clutter and look at what you want to achieve this year and ask Brigit's help in making it happen.

Celestial Forecasts

Forthcoming Events and Workshops

Exhibition Stands with talks/workshops:-

Wellness Day, 10am-4pm
GLive, Guildford, Surrey
Saturday 10th March
£8 in advance (£10 on door)
Joanna's workshop:
12.15-1pm (provisional time)
An Introduction to Khemitology

Awaken The Goddess, 9.30am-6pm
24, Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm
Saturday 28th July
£10 in advance (£22 on door)
Free for Market Place only
Joanna's workshop:
4:15 - 5:45pm
The Violet Flame of Amenti

Joanna's Courses & Workshops: -

Past Life Mini Workshop
Sunday 25th Feb 
Seale Natural Health
Farnham, Surrey

Reyad Sekh Em 1 & 2
Practitioner Intensive
Mon 19th-Wed 21st March

Violet Flame of Amenti
Friday 23rd March

Planetary Angel Workshop
Monday 26th March

Violet Flame of Amenti
Wed 4th April

Zodiac Angel Workshop
Thursday 12th April

Reyad Sekh Em 1 & 2
Practitioner Intensive
Wed 18th - Fri 20th April

Reyad Sekh Em (RSE)
Level 1 - Introduction
Mon 23rd/Tues 24th April

Metaphor Workshop
Sunday 29th April
Hoebridge Golf Course
Woking, Surrey

Reyad Sekh Em (RSE)
Level 2 - Practitioner
Mon 30th Apr/Tues 1st May

 

 

 

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