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FEBRUARY: IMBOLC TO TERMINALIA February is named after the ancient Roman purification festival of Februa and is a time to honour the ancestors and orgiastically invoke the powers of fertility. Pagan Festivals and Holy Days in February Although February is named after the ancient Roman purification festival of Februa, February is also a month sacred to the gods Mars (as Quirinus, or Romulus) and Juno, the wife of Jupiter. According to Ancient Roman tradition February is a month in which particular reverence was shown to the spirits of deceased ancestors. In a familiar cultural dichotomy in which both death and life were celebrated, this was a month devoted to fertility, both of men and women, and of the land. Many of these rites had residual agricultural overtones. It may be more than coincidence that the dead, who were either buried or considered to be in the 'underworld', and the fruits of agriculture, both relate to the earth. February was the last month in the Roman calendar, but also the beginning of spring: the first day of spring was celebrated on February 5 (the Nones). According to Ovid, the Latin word februa ('the means of purification') derived from an older Etruscan word meaning purgamentum ('purging'). It was accordingly a month of 'spring cleaning' with purifcation and fertility rituals. The month of February is called Solmonath (meaning 'Sun month') in Anglo-Saxon and was thought to have been dedicated to the Goddess Sjofn. Solmonath notes the gradual return of light after the darkness of midwinter. In modern Asatru calendars February is known as Horning, from Horn, the turn of the year. It is celebrated as a time of purification. February is Saxon cake month, when cakes are offered to the Gods and Goddesses for prosperity and good luck. Roman Calendar 1: Kalends of February 2: Festival of Juno Februa 5: Nones of February (First Day of Spring) 9: Feast of Apollo 12: Festival of Diana (Luna) 13: Ides of February Festivals of Parentalia and the orgiastic festival of Juno Februa begin 14: Orgiastic festival of Juno Februa ends Day sacred to Juno-Lupa 15: Lupercalia 17: Fornacalia 18: Rites of Tacita 19: Birth of Minerva 21: Festival of Parentalia ends Festival of Feralia 22: Festival of Caristia 23: Festival of Terminalia 24: The Regifugium 27: The Equirria 28: Pridie Kalendas Martius (Day Before the Kalends of March) Other Dates 1: Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries begin (Ancient Greek) 2: Imbolc (Celtic/Wiccan) 3: Powamu (Hopi). End of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries (Ancient Greek) 6: Festival of Aphrodite (Ancient Greek) 9: Dahini Day (Tibetan) 12: Festival of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon (Ancient Greek) Death of Gerald Gardner (Wiccan) 13: Anthesterion Nourmenia - festival honouring all of the Gods and Goddesses (Ancient Greek) 14: St Valentine's Day Trifon Zarezan, Festival of Dionysos (Ancient Greek) Valisblot, Feast Day of Vali (Norse) 15: Sigfrid's Day (Norse/Odinism) 16: Fumi-e (Japanese) 17: Festival of Shesmu, God of the Wine Press (Ancient Egyptian) Festival of Aphrodite and Eros (Ancient Greek) 18: Festival of Artemis (Ancient Greek) Spenta Armaiti (Zoroastrian) 25: Day of Nut (Ancient Egyptian) 28: Conception of Buddha (Tibetan) Anniversaries Witchcraft Trials Salem 1692 Mid-February, 1692: Doctor Griggs attends the 'afflicted' girls and suggests that witchcraft may be the cause of their strange behaviour. 25th February, 1692: Tituba, at the request of neighbour Mary Sibley, bakes a 'witch cake' made with urine from the bewitched and feeds it to a dog. According to an English folk remedy, this would counteract the spell put on Elizabeth and Abigail. Late-February, 1692: Elizabeth identifies Tituba as her bewitcher under pressure from ministers and townspeople. The girls later accuse Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft. 29th February, 1692: arrest warrants are issued for Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne.

MARCH: MARS AND MATRONALIA March is named after the ancient Roman god of war and fertility, Mars, and is a time to honour the ancestors and orgiastically invoke the powers of fertility. Pagan Festivals and Holy Days in March Introduction March is the month of Mars, the warlike god who personifies the protection of the state and the agricultural and business fecundity of the community. In this context Mars represents the terrestial origin of life and the rhythm of the ensuing year. Mars was known to the Greeks as Ares, a war god who was wild and ungovernable, and who glorified in conflict for its own sake and revelled in slaughter. Gloating over the death and destruction he caused, he was typically represented as accompanied by his two sons Deimos (Fear or Terror) and Phobos (Dismay or Flight from Fear). Ares was also often accompanied in his bloody campaigns by Enyo, the murderous goddess of war, known to the Romans as Bellona. The Romans held a milder, more honourable view of Mars, honouring him as the son of Zeus and the father of Romulus. The Anglo-Saxons named March for the earth mother goddess of the Germanic peoples, Hertha or Nerthus, thus: Hrethmonath, meaning the 'month of Hertha'. In modern Asatru March is called Lenting. According to an old tradition, the weather in March is said to end in the opposite manner than it began: if it arrives like a lion, then it will leave like a lamb and if it arrives like a lamb, then it will leave like a lion. Roman Calendar 1: Birthday of Mars Women's festival of Matronalia 5: Navigum Isidis, Blessing of the Vessel of Isis 6: Day honoring the gods of one's household 7: Festival of Junonalia 11: Day sacred to Hercules 14: Festival of Veturius Mamurius 15: Festival of Attis and Cybele Day sacred to Anna Parenna and River Nymphs Assassination of Julias Caesar Guild festival 16: Festival of Bacchus 17: Liberalia 19: Festival of Quinquatrus begins 22: Procession of the Tree- Bearers 23: Festival of Quinquatrus ends Invocation day of Mars and Saturn 24: Day of Blood 25: Hilaria (Festival of Joy) 28: Festival of the Sacrifice at the Tombs 30: Festival of Janus and Concordia 31: Feast of Luna Other Dates 2: Mothers' March (Bulgarian) 3: Doll Festival (Japanese) 8: Birthday of Mother Earth (Chinese) 10: Holi (Amerindian) 13: Purification Feast (Balinese) 16: Dionysus Festival (Ancient Greek) 19: Day of Aganyu (Santeria) 21 (approx.): Spring Equinox Ostara (Teutonic/Wiccan) 23: Summer Finding (Norse) 26: Plowing Day (Slavic) 29: Ishtar Festival (Babylonian) Anniversaries Witchcraft Trials Salem 1692 In March Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba were officially charged with practising witchcraft, thus beginning the infamous Salem Witchcraft Trials. Over the following months more than 150 men and women in and around Salem would be arrested and imprisoned on similar charges. 1: Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin examine Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne for "witches teats." Tituba confesses to practicing witchcraft and confirms Good and Osborne are her co- conspirators. 11: Ann Putnam Jr. shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft. Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Mary Warren later allege affliction as well. 12: Ann Putnam Jr. accuses Martha Cory of witchcraft. 19: Abigail Williams denounces Rebecca Nurse as a witch. 21: Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin examine Martha Cory. 23: Salem Marshal Deputy Samuel Brabrook arrests four-year-old Dorcas Good. 24: Corwin and Hathorne examine Rebecca Nurse. 26: Hathorne and Corwin interrogate Dorcas. 28: Elizabeth Proctor is accused of witchcraft. March Events Guide It's time to don the horned helmet one last time and indulge in some sacrificial ship-burning and sun- worship with the last Up Helly Aa of the season. Visit Italy an epic battle between the forces of good and evil called the rito del cervo, or 'rite of the deer', or see Spain's Festival of The Impaled. For those in South America, Mexico's Annual Witches' Congress is unmissable.

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