Latest entry: 5th March

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!

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Sunset Over The Mersey, March 2008: Maria Hughes

Moon Phases, March 2015:
Full Moon - March 5, 18:06
Third Quarter - March 13, 17:48
New Moon – March 20, 09:36
First Quarter – March 27, 07:43

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CURRENT MOON

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Early Spring frost, Liverpool, Spring 2010: Jamie Reid

Saint's Day:
Ciarán of Saigir (Irish calendar)
Olivia
Theophilus, bishop of Caesarea

Festival:
CCHR Day (Scientology)
Learn from Lei Feng Day (China)
St Piran's Day (Cornwall)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Common Daisy
Bellis perennis.
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Gaelic Name: Noinin (Irish) and Buidheag (Scottish)..

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Also known as Bruisewort, Gollan, Gowan, Bairnwort, Magdalene Flower, St Margaret’s Herb and Innocence Flower.
The common Daisy is so well known from early childhood that even the ancient herbals would bother not to describe its appearance, but would instead begin by eulogising its many virtues. The folk names of the Common daisy would often be applied to the Chrysanthemum Leucantheum the Ox Eye daisy causing a blaring of various folk stories and charms that became almost synonymous with both plants, it was this confusion of various country names that was applied to plants and that often varied from place to place that led Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) to lay the foundations of the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature, in order to put to a end this confusion, and as such he became known as the father of modern Taxonomy.
The name Daisy means ‘Days eye’ as it would open up its flowers only when the sun had fully rose and shut them again on the sun’s setting. The name of the Genus ‘Bellis’ as a number of possible sources, the most common being that is was derived from the Latin ‘Bellus’ meaning ‘Pretty or Charming’; other sources say the name is derived from the Latin name for war ‘Bello’ because of its use as an excellent wound healer. The name bellis has also been suggested as being derived from the myths of the dryads, it being the name of the water nymph Belidis, who when being pursued by Vertumnus (The god of the seasons, change and plant growth) turned herself in to this little flower in order to avoid his attentions. It Celtic folklore the name is associated with the Celtic sun god Belenos as this little flower would only raise its head when the sun was at its highest point in the sky and would begin to droop when the sun was setting; indeed the Gaelic name for the plant in Ireland is ‘Noinin’ meaning the ‘Noon Flower’ from its flowers being fully open at this time, the name Noinin also became a very popular girls name in Ireland too.
The name of the species Perennis is derived from the Latin ‘Per’ meaning ‘through’ and ‘Annus’ (year) and simply means continual or everlasting in reference to it being found right throughout the year. The name of the family order it belongs to Asteraceae is from the Greek Aster for star in reference to the shape and form of the flowers; the Asteraceae family is also known as ‘Compositae’ as the flowers of this family are made up of many florets in a compounded form.

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The Scottish name of ‘Buidheag’ means ‘The Little yellow one’ and in the Welsh tongue it was known as Llgad y Dydd (Eye of the Day). The Scottish folk name of ‘Bairnwort’ is derived from its association with children, bairn meaning child and wort being an ancient name for any healing plant; the other Scots names of Gowan and gollen, mean a smith, as black smiths would use the plant for healing wounds obtained on the job. In Scotland the name of Gollen/Gowan became localised to ‘Gool’ and certain people were often given the name gool riders, whose job it was to remove the daisy from agricultural ground as it was considered and is a invasive weed and the farmers who were found to have the biggest crop of ‘gools’ could often be levied a fine.
The name of ‘Innocence weed’ arises from the Celtic traditions that the plant came from the spirits of children who died at birth and God had sprinkled the flowers over the earth in their honour and to help bring solace to the parents; later Christian traditions held that it was called the innocent flower in honour of St Mary Magdalene, because Christ had rid her of several demons and thus restored her innocence, her tears being thus transformed into the daisy, though the suppositions that Mary Magdalene was a repentant prostitute are a medieval myth, the daisy became known as ‘Magdalene flower’ from this tradition. The name of St Margaret’s herb is derived from the French word ‘Marguerite’ used to describe the daisy, the name Marguerite itself being derived from the Greek word for pearl; as the daisy was associated with children who died at birth it was named in honour of St Margaret who is the patron saint of women in labour and child birth.

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Medicinally the daisy contains Mucilage (Used as a demulcent), Saponin (Soap forming), Essential Oil (Carries the essence of the plant), Ammoniacal Salts (form of ammonia used in industry), Flavones (Metabolize drugs in the body and aid in the fight against cancer), Tannin (Used in the treatment of leather and Hides) and Polyacetylenes (Compounds of this can regulate genes associated with thrombosis in endothelial cells). The daisy acts as an Anodyne (Pain killer), Antispasmodic (Prevents Spasms), Antitussive (Cough Medicine), Demulcent (relieves minor pain and inflammation of the membranes), Digestive (Aids Digestion), Expectorant (Dissolves thick mucus and used for respiratory conditions), Laxative (Induces Bowel movement), Purgative (Causes evacuation of the Bowels), Ophthalmic (Treats disease in the Eye), Vulnerary (Wound healing), Diaphoretic (Increases Perspiration), Diuretic (Elevates the rate of Urination), Alterative (Restores Health), Emollient (Softens and soothes the Skin) and is Anti-Rheumatic.
The daisy is famous in the herbals of old for its many curative powers and had great reputation as a cure for fresh wounds, the Druids of the Celts and the Ancient Romans would gather great quantities of the fresh herb to take with them into battle for the treatment of the wounds incurred. It was greatly used as an ointment applied externally for treating Inflammatory disorders of the liver, Bruises (Hence its ancient name of Bruisewort.) Acne, Boils, swellings, Varicose Veins, Sprains and Rheumatic pain. The great herbalist Gerard (1545-1611/12) mentions this plant under the name of bruisewort and states: ‘Bruisewort is an unfailing remedy in all kinds of pain and aches, besides curing fevers, inflammation of the liver and heals the inward parts’; He goes on to recommend the herb for Catarrh, migraines and heavy Menstruation.
Culpepper (1616-1654) recommends the herb for ‘Wounds in the breast and Wounds inward and outward and does much to temper the heat of Choler, cures all Ulcers in the mouth, tongue and secret parts and any parts of the body that are Swollen.’ He also commends it for Palsy, Sciatica, Gout and Kernels that grow on the flesh and Bruises.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) states that the herb if boiled in milk and the liquid given to puppies, those animals will no longer grow.
Magically the herb is under the sign of Cancer and the dominion of the Moon. The Knights of old would wear daisy chains as a protector of their person when in battle; Knights wearing a double band of daisies were recognised as being betrothed. Country people would wear them to ward of ulcers and warts. Children carried on the tradition of making daisy chains and in times of old it was said that children would be dressed in garlands of daises to ward of the fairies and as the daisy was a symbol of the sun they were commonly used in protective magic, daisy symbols can be seen on the gold hairpins found when the Minoan palace was excavated and believed to be more than four thousand years old, and numerous daisies are to be found on the ceramics of ancient Egypt, and were widely used in the French heraldic traditions.
In Ireland daisy chains were made by grafting them on to the rush and on New Year’s Day the custom of a ‘penny for a daisy’ was carried out, children collecting large numbers of them to make their pennies. Daises were also used in divination and a popular rhyme arose from the practice of plucking of the flower petals, being: ‘Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor; Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief’. The young maiden plucking the flowers would know what her future husband would be when she plucked the last petal.
In Wales the daisy was also used to test the fidelity of a lover, by plucking the petals whilst reciting the words: ‘does he love me’? ‘Much’, ‘a little’ ‘devotedly’ ‘not at all’. As always the last petal would reveal the answer.
It was believed that if a child uprooted the daisy there growth would be stunted and the pink hew that appears on the tops of the white flowers was said to be the blood of the Virgin Mary who pricked herself whilst picking them for the Christ child.
A well known couplet from the days gone by was that ‘when you put your foot on seven daisies then spring has come’; though this proverb can vary greatly from place to place from the number of daises to the season itself, in some places it being summer. To dream of daisies in spring and summer foretold good luck, to dream of them in autumn or winter foretold bad luck to the dreamer.
The daisy was held sacred to Artemis of the Greeks and to Freyja of the Vikings.
On account of the acrid juice contained in the daisy no cattle will touch it, nor do insects attack it.*

Also on this day:

1046 – Naser Khosrow begins the seven-year Middle Eastern journey which he will later describe in his book Safarnama.

1496 – King Henry VII of England issues letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorising them to explore unknown lands.

1850 – The Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait between the Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales is opened.

1904 – Nikola Tesla, in Electrical World and Engineer, describes the process of the ball lightning formation.

1931 – The British Viceroy of India, Governor-General Edward Frederick Lindley Wood and Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) sign an agreement envisaging the release of political prisoners and allowing salt to be freely used by the poorest members of the population.

1965 – March Intifada: A Leftist uprising erupts in Bahrain against British colonial presence.

1973 – Donald DeFreeze, the future Symbionese Liberation Army leader, escapes from Vacaville Prison.

1984 – 6,000 miners begin their strike at Cortonwood Colliery.


* 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.

 

 

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