17th 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!

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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:
Seven Founders of the Servite Order
Constabilis
Fintan of Clonenagh
Lommán of Trim

Festival:
Independence Day, celebrates the independence declaration of Kosovo in 2008, still under dispute.
Quirinalia, in honor of Quirinus (Roman Empire)
The first day of Hachinohe Enburi (Hachinohe)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Coltsfoot
Tussilago Farfara.
Family: Asteraceae. (Compositae.)
Gaelic Name: Sponc, Cluas Liath, Gorm Liath and Spuing.

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Also known as Ass’s foot, Coughwort, Foal’s foot, Farfara, Poor Man’s Backy and Filius Ante Patrem. This herb was well known to the ancient herbalists of old, and was much admired for its golden rays as they often flowered in the early spring and became a symbol of the returning sun and were often used in the springtime rituals associated with the festivities of Imbolc, ostara and Beltain, the long stems being ideal for being woven into wreaths.
The names Colts foot, Foal’s foot and Ass’s foot all refer to the shape of the leaves resembling the feet of these various animals. The name of the genus Tussilago is derived from the Latin Tussis (cough dispeller) as this plant was famous for its uses in aiding problems of the lungs and for alleviating coughs, hence its other folk name of Coughwort. The name of the species Farfara and its folk name of Farfara are derived from Farfarus an ancient name for the White Poplar tree (Populus Alba) as the leaves of this tree resemble in both form and colour to the leaves of this plant.

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The Gaelic names of Cluas Liath (Grey Ear), Gorm Liath (Greyish Green) are also in reference to the appearance of the leaves. The Gaelic name of Spuing means ‘Tinder Leaf’ as the leaves of this plant when rubbed down of the downy fur wrapped in a rag and dipped in a solution of saltpetre and dried in the sun became excellent as tinder and was much in use before the introduction of matches. The Gaelic name of Sponc means ‘Spirited’ in reference to the golden flowers and their appearance when not many other flowers are on show and is the origin of the English word ‘spunk’.
The folk name of Filius Ante Patrem is an old name for this herb meaning ‘The Sun before the Father’ as the golden flowers appear and then wither before the leaves are produced.
Medicinally the plant abounds in Mucilage which gave rise to its very popular uses as cough remedy and a thoracic remedy and for all general complaints of the lungs; it contains Tannins, Salts, Sterols and Inulin. The sterols in the plant have proved very useful in helping to lower cholesterol in the body as they block cholesterol absorption in the intestines, and the Inulin contains dietary fibre which increases the body’s absorption of calcium and can offer protection from bacterial infections in the digestive tract.

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The Herbs acts as Demulcent (a soothing agent), Expectorant (Dissolves thick mucus, aiding in respiratory disorders), a Tonic and has Anti-Inflammatory properties. The smoking of the leaves was recommended by Pliny. (23AD-79AD), Discorides (Circa 49AD-90AD) and Galen (129 AD-199/217AD) and other eminent herbalists, it was also widely used as a substitute for Tobacco and was known as ‘poor man’s Backy’. It relieves Asthma and Catarrh and along with other ingredients was used as an herbal tobacco. Made into a decoction it was used against Colds and Calculus complaints
Culpepper recommends the herb for fighting ‘bad dry coughs’ ‘wheezing and shortness of breath, ‘rheums’ (a watery discharge from the eyes) ‘hot swellings or inflammations’ ‘St Anthony’s fire’ (erysipelas a intensely red bacterial infection that occurs on the face and lower extremities), ‘burnings’ and for taking away the ‘wheals’ (a raised itchy area of the skin).
Because of its pectoral and anti-inflammatory qualities it was used for bronchitis, laryngitis, pleurisy, pharyngitis and tuberculosis. The leaves are rich in Vitamin C and were widely eaten in soups and as a salad herb, though this is no longer recommended as the herb also contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic to the liver. Compresses and poultices were used against scrofulous sores and swollen feet and drops of Coltsfoots were used to relive ear ache.
Magically the Coltsfoot would reveal were coal laid in the ground as the Gypsies believed were ever it grew, coal would be beneath it. It was also used in love charms to bring back a wandering lover as mentioned by Theocritus (3rd century BC) in his idyll 2: ‘Coltsfoot is an herb that grows in Arcadia, and for it all the swift mares and colts run mad through the mountains. May I see Delphis like that, may he rush to this house like madman, from the glistening wrestling-ring.’

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Culpepper places the herb under the dominion of the plant Venus.
The leaves produce a green/yellow dye. The plant is galled by the Aecia Puccinia Poarum a rust fungus and the leaves are mined by the gall flies Acidia Cognate, Trypeta Zoe and the Vidalia Cornuta of the Diptera: Tephridite orders. And the leaf is grazed by the nocturnal larva of the Tenthredo Mandibularis a Saw fly of the Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae orders.
The seeds of the Coltsfoot are crowned with soft silky hairs called the ‘pappus’ and are often used by Goldfinches (Carduelis Carduelis) for the lining of their nests, the Highlanders of Scotland are also said to have used them for the stuffing of their mattresses and pillows.*

Also on this day:

1600 – The philosopher Giordano Bruno is burned alive at Campo de' Fiori in Rome for heresy.

1753 – In Sweden February 17 is followed by March 1 as the country moves from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

1904 – Madama Butterfly receives its première at La Scala in Milan.

1913 – The Armory Show opens in New York City, displaying works of artists who are to become some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century, notably including Marcel Duchamp.

1965 – Project Ranger: The Ranger 8 probe launches on its mission to photograph the Mare Tranquillitatis region of the Moon in preparation for the manned Apollo missions. Mare Tranquillitatis or the "Sea of Tranquility" would become the site chosen for the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

1978 – The Provisional IRA detonates an incendiary bomb at the La Mon restaurant, near Belfast, killing 12 and seriously injuring 30.

1996 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.


* 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.