Joanna Bristow Watkins

PancakeDay

  • Celestial Forecast February 2024

    Significant dates from ancient folklore & dates on which you can 'tune in' to higher frequencies in green
    Listings in black are Harmony Healing events, listings in green are Harmony in Nature events
    Timings given are UK time (GMT); to convert GMT (Universal Time) to your local time

    Celestial Forecast Website slider final ImageFebruary in Britain sees the steady increase of daylight hours leading us towards spring, but air temperature remains unpredictable with this often presenting as the coldest month of the year with reasonable chance of snow. Look out for snowdrops poking through the soil, together with the yellow, white and violet of crocuses (or croci, apparently both plural forms are acceptable). The subtle aroma of witch hazel blossoms may linger. and the pretty white flowers of the wood anemone, known as an indicator of ancient woodland (rather like bluebells come May), may also appear but it's still early for them. Local ponds should be full of frogspawn, as well as similar gelatinous spawns laid by toads and newts.

    The month of February was named after the Roman God Februa(sometimes called Februus) and his annual Roman springtime festival of purification and cleanliness. To the Anglo-Saxons, February was called 'Sōlmōnath', derived from 'sōl' - an Old English word for wet sand or mud. However, according to medieval scholar Bede, it relates to the month when ritual offerings of loaves of bread and savoury cakes were typical to ensure a good year’s harvest.

    February begins with the Pagan Festival of Imbolc,join our onlineImbolc Ceremony, 2nd February, 7.30-9.30pm for £20. This monthwe can look forward to the Japanese Celebration of Setsuban (3rd), the traditional Festival of Valentine's Day (14th) plus the Roman festivals of Lupercalia (15th) and Caristia (22nd). 

    This year, February features the lead up to Lent, including Collop Monday (12th), Shrove Tuesday (13th), Ash Wednesday (14th), Fritter Thursday (15th) and Kissing Friday (16th). We have our only February Forest Bathing event 11am-1.30pm on Saturday 24th February at Harry Edwards in Shere (Surrey). Our Full Moon Meditation also takes place 7.30-9.30pm (UK time)on Saturday  24th, with Snow Full Moon peaking at 12:30. We have Forest Bathing and Harmony Healing vouchers available as gifts.

    The New Year New Moon New Vision Course ends 9th/10th February with a distant Equilibrium Attunement, including symbols to help align us with the current western zodiac (Aquarius) and the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. The attunement is available as a stand-alone purchase for £44 (with 50% concession to my students), go to Harmony Shop to reserve your place.

    Thursday 1st & Friday 2nd February is the Pagan Imbolc Ceremony, which is one of the four Great Celtic Festivals, and which is a Wiccan and Druid Festival of Fertility and Growing Light. Imbolc (pronounced EE-molk) is the old Celtic word; the celebration is also known as Candlemas (the latter is generally celebrated 2nd February). See entry below.

    Friday 2nd FebruaryjoinJoanna and Sarah-Jane Dennis (Priestess of Avalon) for our Water Ceremony & Imbolc Celebration, 7.30-9.30pm (UK time), £20.  Imbolc shutterstock 114601966 Pagan wheelis sacred to the Goddess Brigit, Brigid 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. Brigit is a triple Goddess, so she can be honoured in all her aspects, she is associated with fire, fertility, midwifery and the young. 

    Imbolc Image by Antonia SkeltonThe 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 room 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 reflect 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. Book the Imbolc Celebration at the Harmony Shop.

    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, or naughty ogres or spirits called ‘Oni’ for the year to come.

    Why bean throwing? Families celebrate by scattering roasted soybeans outside the door of their house to chase out the oni (naughty ogres or spirits).

    They may also throw soybeans at a member of the family dressed as an Oni. If lockdown life is getting you all a bit stir-crazy, maybe chucking beans at each other is a good way to let off some steam!

    The image by Antonia Skelton, for Harmony Healing, shows items placed on a house to keep bad spirits away. 

    Moon Scarletts shot square

    Friday 9th February @ 22:59 is New Moon and it's also a Super New Moon.

    The New Moon Abundance Ritual should be carried out within 24 hours after the New Moon. It needs to be after the New Moon because the moon should be waxing (getting bigger again) to carry the manifestation energy. Image by Harmony Healing.

    There are video instructions on my Facebook Page or You Tube Page.

    It is a good day for creating a personal or corporate Vision Board for 2024. Harmony Healing provides a Vision Board template and periodically we offer a lunar cycle mentoring programme.

    Our current New Year New Vision moon connection programme ends today, with an Equilibrium Attunement to energetically align participants with the Sun, Moon, planet Earth, the constellations, the current Zodiac of Pisces. The New Year New Moon New Vision Course ends 9th/10th February with an Equilibrium Attunement  (see YouTube video 'What Exactly is an Attunement?), which is usually available as a stand-alone purchase for £55, but I have it on offer for £44 (50% concession to my students), go to Harmony Shop to reserve your place.

    Aligning ourselves with the moon cycle is very therapeutic, hence being aware of the New Moon (good for starting new projects) and Full Moon (a good time for bringing projects to a conclusion) is excellent for bringing harmony and wellbeing into our lives.

    Chinese New Year w gold & rabbitSaturday 10th February,following the New Moon on the 9th February, Year of the Water Rabbit comes to a close and we progress into the Year of the Wood Dragon, which will last until 28th January 2025. A Dragon is a mythological creature and all Chinese legends about dragons, describe them as coming from the sky, which represents heaven, hence in China Dragon is a symbol of heavenly power. Dragon is viewed as a noble and untouchable beast with occult and mystical connotations. According to Chinese energy expert, Nicholas Haines, since Dragons are mythological creatures, they bring messages to remind us what we came to earth to do. And. that is to be our authentic self, so this will be the theme of 2024.  The wood energy brings in justice and the control of chaos, whereas the Dragon energy supports ambition, confidence, power and idealism.  It sounds like an interesting year! 

    Red is an auspicious colour and can be worn to bring energy, luck & happiness. 

    The Chinese calendar rotates through 60-year cycles based on 12 earthly branches, each represented by an animal year, as well as five element years which are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. 2022 was the year of the Water Tiger, 2023 was the Year of the Water Rabbit. We move into the wood element this year with the Wood Dragon. Each earthly branch is characterised, on a deeper level, by a yin or yang force and its own element.

    In order, the 12 zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Hence the sign of the Dragon is the fifth animal of the Chinese zodiac and, with its strong yang energy, represents success and prosperity in their culture. 2024 is predicted to be a Year of Authenticity.

    In Chinese culture, homes are thoroughly cleaned at the New Year to sweep away old ill fortune to make room for coming good luck, and fireworks are set off, and red (sometimes with gold) is worn to ward off evil monsters and bad luck.  

    Collop Monday 15thMonday 12th February, this year is Collop Monday, also known as Shrove Monday.It's the day before Shove Tuesdayand isn't widely observed, but it is a similar frugal tradition to the consumption of eggs in the form of pancakes to use them up before the start of the fasting period of Lent.

    As described in an extract from the Nottingham Evening Post, 1931, Collops are chunks of cured meat (such as bacon) or leftover roasted meat, so this involves using up any remaining meat in the household before Lent. 

    In Cornwall, it's known as Peasen Monday because pea soup was the traditional dish of the day. Image by Harmony Healing.

    Shrove Tuesday 16thTuesday 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 by Harmony Healing.

    Ash Wednesday 17thWednesday 14th Februaryis Ash Wednesday this year, which 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 the choice of stick, regarding size and shape, is paramount! 

    Tuesday 14th February is, of course, also  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. 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. 

    Copy of Valentine optionsHowever, 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. Image by Harmony Healing.  

    Thursday 15th February is Fritter ThursdayAccording to The Free DictionaryFritter Thursday took its name from the custom of eating apple fritters, which were fruit-filled cakes deep-fried in fat, on this day. 

    Fritter Thursday 18th

    I was surprised that this would be an acceptable dish once Lent had commenced (as 'fritter' suggests batter which would contains egg and milk) and on further research I discovered that in Lancashire (source: lep.co.uk) traditionally ‘Shrovetide’ meant the three days before Lent and comprosed of ‘Collop Monday’, ‘Pancake Tuesday’ and ‘Fritters Wednesday’ (rather than Thursday) with the fritters being sliced apples fried in batter. Image by Harmony Healing.


    Lupercalia image from WikipediaThursday 15th February is also Lupercalia in Ancient Roman tradition.

    Apparently, this was the popular ceremony of fertility, featuring naked men running through the street! 

    I can’t see this catching on in the UK climate!  

    Roman images show men dressed as dogs (or possibly Wolves since Lupus meant Wolf) and goats, Cupid and other personifications of fertility. 

    Hence, some say this ceremony was the precursor for Valentines' Day. Image by Harmony Healing.

    Kissing Friday image optionsFriday 16th February is Kissing FridayAccording to historic.co.uk, this bizarre custom was especially popular in the Victorian and Edwardian period and only died out in the mid-20th century.

    Although unthinkable these days, a schoolboy could kiss a girl on this day without fear of repercussions. 

    Of course, first of all the girl had to be caught and in some instances this involved tying ropes across the street and passing girls would have to pay a kiss for safe passage across the rope.

    Others would simply chase the girls until they caught them. Indeed, Kissing Fridaywas also the one day every year when girls could leave school early, to avoid being chased home by the boys.

    In the Leicershire village of Sileby, this day was called Nippy Hug Day. Here, if the girl actively resisted a kiss, the boy could 'louse' (pinch) her bottom, a disturbing reference to the action of pinching off lice. Image by Antonia Skelton.

    CaristiaWednesday 22nd February is the Roman Festival of Caristia.

    This was a Feast Day occasion of family reunion, when Roman fathers would pay special attention to their families.

    It was a day of reconciliation when disagreements were to be set aside, but the satirical poet Ovid apparently suggested this would be best achieved by excluding family members who caused trouble.

    Families gathered together to dine and offer food and incense to the Guardian Deities, collectively known as Lares. Image by Harmony Healing..

    Gabriel with full moon Insta imageSaturday 24th February @ 12:30 is the Snow Full Moon.

    Between Full Moon and the next New Moon (Saturday 13th March) is considered as a good time energetically for detoxing the body.

    See entry below for our live online event. Or to celebrate on your own see Angela McGerr's Full Moon Meditation with Gabrieltaken from Angela McGerr's Harmony of  Angels book; now out of print but signed copies are available from the Harmony Shop.

    Aligning ourselves with the moon cycle is very therapeutic, hence being aware of the New moon (good for starting new projects) and Full Moon (a good time for bringing projects to a conclusion) is excellent for bringing harmony and wellbeing into our lives. Anyway, whatever the weather conditions, it's a fantastic excuse to get people of all ages outside in the fresh air and re-connecting with nature. Something our modern lifestyles and obsession with technology can distract us from doing...

    Forest Bathing 2020Saturday 24th February, 11am - 1pm, Forest Bathing with Joanna at Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary (Shere, near Guildford, Surrey). Cost is £37.77 (+ PayPal fee if not paid by BACS). This is a 2½-hour Winter Full Moon Forest Bathing session which will take place in all weathers except 30+mph winds or storms. 

    Join us on a mindful, sensory journey through the beautiful woodland at Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, deep in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Forest Bathing+ is based on the Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku and involves a slow exploration of nature through your senses. Image by Harmony Healing.

    A deeply relaxing and rejuvenating experience, and which, despite the title forest bathing, does not involve any swimming! Some of the scientifically proven benefits of spending time in woodland include reduced stress levels, stronger immune system response, and a stabilised cortisol cycle.

    Book via our Harmony Healing shop. Email  to go on our forest bathing mailing list.  

    Unity MeditationSaturday 24th February, 7.30-9.30pm UK time (GMT) is our Full Moon Unity Consciousness Meditation.

    During this session, we connect with other like-minded people and together we work through a mindful chakra balancing process using colours and etheric crystals, with the aim that all participants will experience a degree of unity consciousness. Participants all receive a deeply healing experience. Cost to participate is £20 by online BACS payment (£1 admin fee added for PayPal, concessions to RSE/VFoA graduates), book at the Harmony Shop.

    This activity serves as a good taster of Joanna's work in general and the virtual format of our Zoom based programme. And, most importantly, it's a step towards making a difference to the global predicament. To find out how working on your own spiritual consciousness can help humanity and the planet by raising the overall human consciousness levels, see Joanna's You Tube explanation.

    Leap Day Image by Peter LomasThursday 29th February is a Leap Day. 

    During Leap Years, such as 2024, an extra Leap Day - or Intercalary Day - is added on 29th February.

    Although officially introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, by a decree signed in 1582, this auspicious date is recognised in the Pagan, Gaelic and Celtic traditions as one on which ladies may propose to their beloveds. 

    Acknowledgments

    Moonwise Calendar 2022Celestial Forecast is compiled by Joanna Bristow-Watkins of Harmony Healing, the original is published at Joanna's Monthly Celestial Forecasts. It is created using many sources but notably the Moonwise Calendar and Lia Leendertz's annual Almanac. Whilst considerable effort is made to ensure accuracy, this is not an exact science and sources are sometimes contradictory!

    These monthly Celestial Forecasts (CF) are generally uploaded to the Harmony Healing website a fortnight ahead and can be accessed via the drop-down box on the right. They are sent out to the main mailing list and CF subscribers a few days before the month starts. 

    Extracts from the Celestial Forecast are reproduced in Glyden Magick, an online magazine offered via Gylden Fellowship which is a fabulous resource for Neo-Pagans (particularly in the South of England when physical meet-ups can resume).

    Through Harmony Healing, Joanna utilises the philosophies of the Ancient Egyptians, in the form of Reyad Sekh Em® (RSE) Level 1 Egyptian Alchemy Healing. Featuring four online modules of Khemitology (Ancient Egyptology according to the indigenous oral traditions), Violet Flame of Amenti, Mindful Chakra Balancing & Essene AngelologyMissed sessions are fully recorded so that late registrations or are possible. Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Level 1 costs £266 and run about three times a year. the individual modules are stand-alone and cost either £88 or £66, hence the RSE 1 package offers a cost saving.

    These may be interspersed by her one month Lunar Cycle Alignment Programmes. She is also an intuitive healer offering 1-2-1 distant healings and readings, plus MP3 recordings. She is a fully qualified Forest Bathing guide, offering Forest Bathing sessions in the Surrey Hills of England. Joanna acts as the retailer for her sister, Angela McGerr's, best selling angelology books and angel card sets. The are mostly now out-of-print, but Joanna still has some unused copies as well as pre-used versions of many of the card sets, see the Harnony Shop for the full details.

  • Tuesday 13th February, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Pancake Day) in Christian Tradition

    Flipping pancakesTuesday 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 days leading up to and into Lent were Collop Monday, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Fritter Thursday and Kissing Friday(source: Lia Leendertz's2020 Almanac).

    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. The fact that Lent, and indeed Easter, are determined by the lunar calendar tends to suggest that they were superimposed over Pagan celebrations.

    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.

    By partaking in Pancake Day, confessing sins and living a modest life throughout the period of Lent, Christian's believed that it would enhance their harmony and wellbeing.

    Harmony Healing utilises the philosophies of the Ancient Egyptians, in the form of Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Egyptian Alchemy Healing, to bring balance and harmony. Our interactive Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Level 1 training course modules are recorded, so study can start at any time.

    Through Harmony Healing, Joanna offers a wider spectrum of events designed to nurture your welbeing. If you are looking for regular spiritually enlightening activities which help to connect you with the lunar cycle, we have our monthly Full Moon Guided Healing Meditations. The next one is Saturday 24th February at 7.30-9.30pm (UK time = GMT). Participants all receive a deeply healing experience. Cost to participate is £20 by online BACS payment (£1 admin fee added for PayPal) or half price to RSE graduates. There are multi-buy packages for regular attendees. Book at the Harmony Shop.

    Other services
    Within Surrey, via Harmony In Nature, we facilitate Forest Bathing Sessions to help adults reconnect with nature and reap the therapeutic benefits.

    MP3 meditations and distant readings and healings are proving popular and we offer Harmony Healing Vouchers for any value for use on Harmony Healing services andHarmony in Nature vouchers for Forest Bathing vouchers (£35).

    To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is  (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

  • Tuesday 5th March, Khemitian (Egyptian) Festival of Ploiaphesia

    Ploiaphesia 5th MarchTuesday 5th March is Ploiaphesia Egyptian Festival of Navigation.

    This was when one of the most important festivals of the Egyptian Goddess Isis was celebrated, the Ploiaphesia or Navigium Isidis (Ship of Isis).

    Isis was the name for this iconic Goddess used after the Greeks occupied Egypt (from 332 BCE) and introduced the 'is' feminine endings.  In earlier times, the locals called their land Khem or Khemit. 

    My Indigenous Egyptian mentor, and revered Tribal Elder, Hakim Awayan (who died in 2008) coined the phrases Khemitianwhen referring to authentic Ancient Egyptian traditions and Khemitologyto refer to indigenous Egyptology before the Greek (and subsequent Arabic) influences.

    In Khemitology, Isisis known as Aset (also spelt Auset or Iset). A statue of Aset was carried in procession from her temple down to the harbour, where a specially-built ship was moored. 

    laminated poster of Aset (Isis) by Jacqui Taliesin El Masry, Founder of Alkhemi, is available from the Harmony Shop.

    The Ploiaphesiafestival marked the opening of the safe sailing season after the stormy weather of winter had passed.

    The ship would then be loaded with offerings and dedicated to the Goddess, before being launched and carried out to sea by the wind.The festival is described by Apuleius in his Metamorphoses (also known as the Golden Ass).

    To participate you can enjoy the energy of water and celebrate with processions, lights, mirrors, music and flowers.

    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.

    Aligning ourselves with other members of the community through mutual celebration is very therapeutic and is excellent for bringing harmony and wellbeing into our lives. 

    Harmony Healing utilises the philosophies of the Ancient Egyptians, in the form of Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Egyptian Alchemy Healing, to bring balance and harmony. With pre-recorded units available, you can start your Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Level 1training at any time.

    Through Harmony Healing, Joanna offers a wider spectrum of events designed to nurture your welbeing. If you are looking for regular spiritually enlightening activities which help to connect you with the lunar cycle, we have our monthly Full Moon Guided Healing Meditations

    Other services
    Within Surrey, via Harmony In Nature, we facilitate Forest Bathing Sessions to help adults reconnect with nature and reap the therapeutic benefits.

    Aligning ourselves to aspects of nature, such as the moon cycle is also very therapeutic, hence being aware of the Full Moon (a good time for bringing projects to a conclusion) and the New moon (good for starting new projects) is excellent for bringing balance and wellbeing into our lives. 

    MP3 meditations and distant readings and healings are proving popular and we offer Harmony Healing Vouchers for any value for use on Harmony Healing services andHarmony in Nature vouchers for Forest Bathing vouchers (£35).

    To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is  (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.