Welcome to the Eightfold Year. Every day a different painting will appear, along with moon phases, saints days, seasonal plants and other festive celebrations.
You can find out more about the concept of the Eightfold Year here.
We hope you enjoy this website. We will be adding content as we go through the year and welcoming your feedback and suggestions.
Onwards and Upwards!
Scouse daffs, Liverpool, Spring 2007: Jamie Reid
Moon Phases, April 2014
First Quarter – April 7, 8:31
Full Moon – April 15, 7:42
Last Quarter – April 22, 7:52
New Moon – April 29, 6:14
New Seeds, Liverpool, Spring 2011: Saul Hughes
Benedict Joseph Labre
Fructuosus of Braga
Martyrs of Zaragoza
Turibius of Astorga
Birthday of Queen Margrethe II (Denmark)
Emancipation Day (Washington, D.C.)
Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Red Dead Nettle
Family: Lamiaceae. Labiatae (Mint family).
Gaelic Name: Ionntag Dhearg.
Also known as Red Dead Nettle, Red Archangel and Purple Archangel.
This beautiful little dead nettle found flowering from April to September, is a common feature of waste ground and is highly variable according to the soil it finds itself in, and is very similar to the Henbit dead nettle (Lamium Amplexicaule).
The name dead nettle arises from its similarity to the young stinging nettle, of which it seems to mimic to avoid predators, but it does not have the stinging qualities, hence the name dead, only when it flowers does it reveal its true identity. The name Red Archangel is in reference to it being a dead nettle and related to the true Archangel known as the White Archangel (Lamium Album) which is known as Archangel as it tends to flower around May the eighth which was the ancient feast day of the Archangel Michael, the names red and purple are in reference to the colour of the flowers of this species.
The name of the genus Lamium and the name of the family group of plants this belongs to Lamiaceae both stem from the Greek word ‘Laimos’ meaning the throat or the gullet in reference to the shape of the flowers, the other name for the family group Labiatae is from the Latin ‘Labium’ meaning lip/lipped in reference to the shape of the flowers and this family group is known as the Mint family as this shape of the flower is a common feature of this group, both Labiatae and Lamiaceae are both valid names and either one can be used when referring to plants of this order according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) which was started on May the first, 1753, with the publication of the Species Plantarum by Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). The name of this species ‘Purpureum’ is from the Latin meaning purple colour, in reference to the colour of its flowers.
The Gaelic name of Ionntag Dhearg means literally ‘Red nettle’.
Medicinally the whole plant is Diaphoretic (Diaphoretics help to promote the elimination of toxins through the skin by promoting sweating which in turn aids the body in its efforts in maintain a healthy inner system, it also helps to decrease the work load of the kidneys and liver, the increased perspiration due to diaphoretics dilate the skin’s surface capillaries which improves blood circulation to the body’s extremities), Diuretic (Diuretics are supportive to the urinary tract and they help increase the production and the elimination of urine, which in turn helps the body in eliminating toxins and supports the body’s ability to maintain a healthy balance of fluid within its tissues), Astringent ( Astringents cause shrinkage of the mucous membranes and the skin and internally checks the discharges of the blood serum or mucous secretions and are used internally for sore throats, haemorrhages, diarrhoea and for peptic ulcers, and used externally can cause a mild coagulation of the skin proteins helping with superficial cuts, stretch marks, skin irritations, allergies, insect bites and fungal infections such as athletes foot.), Purgative (Purgatives also known as aperients, acts as laxatives and induce bowel movement and more specifically helps to loosen the stool and often used to treat constipation and for hastening the elimination of undigested remains of food in the large intestine and the colon.) and Styptic (Styptics also known as antihemorrhagics are substances that promote haemostasis or stops bleeding by contracting the tissue to seal injured blood vessels and promotes coagulation of the blood).
The Red Dead nettle was used medicinally in very much the same way as the other Archangels (Lamium Album and Lamium Galeobdolon) the whole herb was often used in decoctions for checking any type of haemorrhages, the fresh leaves being applied to wounds and external cuts. It was also much used as a blood purifier for rashes, eczema and other blemishes of the skin.
John Gerard (1545-1611) writing of the dead nettles commends it for its efficacy in making the heart merry and to bring about a good colour of the face and to make the vital spirits livelier when there flowers are baked with sugar.
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) commends the Archangels for ‘stopping the hardness of the spleen, driving away melancholy by making the heart merry, quickens the spirits, being good against quartan agues (A chill or a fever that occurs every four days), staunching bleeding at the mouth or nose and good against the king’s evil (Scrofula or struma, a tuberculosis swelling of the lymph glands), it allays the pains associated with gout, sciatica and other pains of the joints and sinews, it is also good for wounds, old ulcers, drawing forth splinters and such like things gotten into the skin, as well as helping against bruising and burns’.
The herb is also used as a pot herb and used in salads, being very nutritious, high in iron, vitamins and fibre and the seed oil is rich in antioxidants.
Magically the Archangels are under the influence of the planet Venus.
They are a food source for butterflies, moths and bees and a major food source for the Dead Nettle Leaf Beetle (Chrysolina fastuosa) the Rosemary beetle (Chrysolina Americana) the Knot grass Beetle (Chrysolina Polita) the Tansy Beetle (Chrysolina Graminis) the Mint Beetle (Chrysolina Herbacea) the Shield Bug (Sehirus Bicolor) and the Flea Beetle (Longitarsus Reichei). The leaf is mined by the Leaf Mining Fly (Liriomyza Strigata).*
Also on this day:
1521 – Martin Luther's first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.
1746 – The ghastly Battle of Culloden is fought between the French-supported Jacobites and the British Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.
1862 – American Civil War: A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia becomes law.
1917 – Lenin returns to Petrograd from exile in Switzerland.
1919 – Gandhi organizes a day of "prayer and fasting" in response to the killing of Indian protesters in the Amritsar Massacre by the British.
1943 – Dr. Albert Hofmann discovers the psychedelic effects of LSD.
1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.
* All information regarding the uses of the plants is exactly for that informational purposes only, and that the author and owners of the web do not encourage anyone to be eating, or disturbing wild plants, but merely to admire them in their natural environment and to ponder on their rise and fall within human culture.