15th February

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!

Sprung-Spring.jpg

Spring bunch, Wenlock Edge 2008: Jamie Reid

Moon Phases, February 2015
Full Moon - February 3, 11:09pm
Third Quarter - February 12, 3:50am
New Moon - February 18, 11:47pm
First Quarter - February 25, 5:14pm

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CURRENT MOON

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The Palace of Earthly Delights, Liverpool, Spring 2010: Jamie Reid

Saint's Day:
Claude de la Colombière
Faustinus and Jovita
Quinidius
Sigfrid of Sweden

Festival:
National Flag of Canada Day (Canada)
John Frum Day (Vanuatu)
National Day (Serbia)
Parinirvana Day, also celebrated on February 8. (Mahayana Buddhism)
Susan B. Anthony Day (United States)
The third and final day of Lupercalia. (Roman Empire)
Total Defence Day (Singapore)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Germander Speedwell
Veronica Chamaedrys.
Family: Scrophulariaceae.
Gaelic name: nuallach.

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Also known as Fluellen, Birds Eye, Angels Eye, God’s Eye, Veronique, Paul’s Betony, Mothers Harm, Grundheile, Farewell, Goodbye and Eye of Christ.
A very common and beautiful herb found growing in pastures and agricultural ground, flowering from early spring to the early summer. The Name of the Genus Veronica is named in honour of Saint Veronica, who was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment (Luke 8:43-48) and was later identified as veronica in the Apocryphal ‘Acts of Pilate’, later on the on the legend was elaborated were Christ gave her a portrait of himself on a cloth which had healing powers, according to Sister Marie of St Peter (1816-1848) in one of her visions she saw St Veronica wiping away the spit and mud from the face of Jesus with her veil on the way to Calvary, when finished the image of the face of Christ was left upon the cloth. This vision led to the Devotion of the Holy Face of Christ, which was later approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Saint veronica wiping the face of Jesus is also the sixth Station of the Cross, or the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows). The Name Veronica is a Latinisation of Berenice a Macedonian name meaning ‘Bearer of Victory’ though folk etymology has the name Veronica coming from the Latin ‘Vera’ (True) and the Greek ‘Eikon’ (Image) meaning the true image of Christ as related by Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 263-339) in his Historia Ecclesiastica. These legends gave rise to the name of this Genus, as the majority of plants of this species were famous for their healing powers, hence the folk names for this species of Veronique, Eye of Christ, Angels Eye, God’s Eye and the name of the genus Veronica.
The name of the species Chamaedrys of which the name ‘Germander’ is a corruption of, is explained by Gerard the Herbalist (1545-1611/12) as thus: ‘The Germander from the form of the leaves like unto small oak leaves, has the name ‘Chamaedrys’ given it, which signifieth a Dwarf Oak’. Another meaning of ‘Chamaedrys’ is that it is derived from the Greek word ‘Chamai’ meaning on the ground in reference to this plants habit of trailing low to the ground. The name of the family of plants it belongs to that of Scrophulariaceae or the Figwort family is derived from the Latin ‘Scrophularia’ as they were supposed to have the ability to cure Scrofula.

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The folk name Fluellen is a Anglicised version of the Welsh surname Llewellyn, and it was known as such by the natural historian William Turner (circa 1508 -1568) and in his ‘A New Herbal’ published in 1551 he explains the name as coming from the gentleman of Wales who named it in honour of a lady Lluellin (Llewellyn/ Fluellen) because it saved her nose from disease that had almost took it from her, the disease probably being leprosy as the German name of the plant ‘Grundheile’ is derived from it saving the king of France who suffered from leprosy, the Name ‘Grund’ being the German name for leprosy and ‘Heile’ meaning heal. The name of Paul’s Betony is named after Paul of Aegina(circa AD 625-690) because of his prolific use of the plant as a cure all, hence the name ‘Speedwell’ and is mentioned in his famous work the ‘De Re Medica Libri Septem’ (Medical compendium in seven books).
The Gaelic name of Nuallach literary means howler or roarer and probably comes from the herbs efficacy in healing and soothing the wails of someone who ill. It was also known as Birds eye as the herb was supposed to have belonged to the birds, whose seeds were said to be especially good for them as a food source, and if you picked it you would run the risk of having your eyes pecked out by them, the names of Farewell and Goodbye come from the fragility of the flowers that are known to fall off when touched.

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Medicinally the whole herb was used and was held in high repute by the ancient herbalists being known as a panacea, a cure all, named after the Greek Goddess of healing Panacea. It was highly valued as a Vulnerary (Wound Healing) and a purifier of the blood, the whole herb is Astringent (Constricts the tissues, thereby diminishing the discharge of blood). It was used as a remedy for skin complaints and diseases of the flesh, being used against smallpox and measles, and the fight against leprosy, Gerard the Herbalist recommended it against cancer and to be boiled in a chicken broth, and advocated the roots to be used a specific against pestilential fevers. It was also used for soothing coughs, asthma and catarrh and all other respiratory complaints and employed to help stimulate the kidneys, indeed there was almost no complaint of the body that this plant could not aid and heal, the infusion of the herb was used to fight sterility if taken daily as a tea and it would also fight against the gout and good for sore eyes and vision providing that it is the birds don’t see you collecting it.
In folk lore and magic, anyone picking the plant without the intention of using it would cause harm to their mother and to bring it indoors was also seen as being particularly harmful to ones mother, hence the folk name of Mother’s harm. In Ireland it was regarded as a good luck charm for any traveller to carry with them on their journey and offered protection. It was also used in charms to protect those going into battle and as such was given to Colonel John Cameron of Fassfern near Loch Eil in 1815 to protect him in the Battle of Waterloo, though sadly he died the day before the battle.
The fertilisation of this plant is chiefly done by drone flies (Eristalis Tenax) which manage to gain protection by them resembling the honey bee (Apis Florea) though the plant is also capable of self fertilisation if the flies fail to do so. The leaves are sometimes attacked by the gall mite Cecidomyia Veronica according to Mrs Grieve (1858-1941) in her ‘Modern Herbal’, which leave white galls like white buttons at the end of the shoots. It is also attacked by the gall midge Jaapiella Veronicae.*

Also on this day:

1879 – Women's rights: American President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

1906 – The British Labour Party is organised.

1933 – In Miami, Florida, Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but instead shoots Chicago, Illinois Mayor Anton J. Cermak, who dies of his wounds on March 6, 1933.

1949 – Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux begin excavations at Cave 1 of the Qumran Caves, where they will eventually discover the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls.

1989 – Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.

2003 – Protests against the Iraq war occur in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people took part, making this the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world.


* 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.