17th 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!

Bulrush%2C-North-Wales.jpg

Bull Rush Burst, Liverpool, Spring 2008: Jamie Reid

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

-

CURRENT MOON

Dabs-of-early-colour.jpgDabs of early colour, Liverpool, Spring 2011: Saul Hughes

Saint's Day:
Alexius of Rome (Eastern Church)
Gertrude of Nivelles
Joseph of Arimathea (Western Church)
Patrick

Festival:
Evacuation Day (Suffolk County, Massachusetts)
Liberalia, in honor of Liber Pater. Considered by some to be part of Agonalia. (Ancient Rome)
National Muay Thai Day
Saint Patrick's Day, a public holiday in Ireland, Montserrat and the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, widely celebrated elsewhere in North America and worldwide.

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Dandelion
Taraxacum Officinale.
Family: Asteraceae. (Compositae)
Gaelic Names: Bearnan Bride, Fiacal Leomhain, Castearbhan Nam Muc, Caisearbhan and Bearnan Brighde.

EFY-March-3a.jpg

Also known as Wee the Bed, Pig’s Snout. Lions Tooth, Priests Crown and Fairy Clocks.
This well known herb considered a weed by many is found throughout the northern hemisphere, from waste ground to meadows and in pastures green, and no plant as so prolific as this can claim to be more beneficial than what this humble weed is to so many of the earth’s fauna including human beings.
The shape of the leaves of this plant have the appearance of huge jagged teeth somewhat appearing like canine teeth of a lion, which gave rise to its most popular name the ‘Dandelion’, which is a corruption of the French ‘Dent De Lion’ this in itself coming from the Latin ‘Dens Leonis’ meaning Lions Tooth and was the former specific name for the plant; The ancient Greek name for the genus also reflects its comparison to the lions tooth as it was known as ‘Leontodon’, and it was known as this name in nearly all the languages of Europe. The new name of the genus ‘Taraxacum’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Taraxos’ (Disorder) and ‘Akos’ (Remedy) on account of its curative abilities, though an alternative meaning of the name of the genus is given by John Lindley and Thomas Moore as well as other numerous contributors in their ‘Treasury of Botany’ published in 1866 were Taraxacum is derived from ‘Taraxo’ (‘I have excited’ or ‘Caused’) and ‘Achos’ (Pain) in allusion to the medicinal qualities of the plant. The name of the species officinale refers to this species being the ‘Official’ one for herbal uses.
The name of the family order it belongs to ‘Asteraceae’ is from the Greek ‘Aster’ (Star) in reference to the shape and form of the flowers; The Asteraceae family is also known as ‘Compositae’ (Composite) as the flowers of this family are made up of many florets in a compounded form.

EFY-March-3b.jpg

The Gaelic names of Bearnan Bride is from ‘Bearnan’ (Notched) and ‘bride’ (Sap) as the plant abounds in healing juice, the name ‘Fiacal Leomhain’ means ‘Lions Teeth’; ‘Castearbhan Nam Muc’ literary means ‘The pig’s sour stemmed plant’; ‘Caisearbhan’ is from the Gaelic ‘cas’ (Foot) ‘Caiseag’ (The stem of a plant) and ‘Searbh’ (Bitter or Sour). The Gaelic name of ‘Bearnan Brighde’ means the ‘Notched plant of Bridget’, Bridget being the Goddess/Saint whose auspices this plant was under on account of its curative qualities. In the Welsh tongue it was known as ‘Dant y Llew’ (Lions tooth).
The English country name of ‘Pigs Snout’ is derived from the shape of the flower florets which close when the sun’s light wanes and thus resemble the snout of the big, this predictability of the flowers opening and closing to the sun led also to the country name of ‘Fairy Clocks’. The name ‘Wee the Bed’ arises from the strong Diuretic qualities of the herb. The name of Priests Crown arises from the seed head when the wind as took all the seeds the receptacle or disc on which they stood remains bare, white speckled and surrounded by the drooping remnants of the sheathing bracts and reminded the medieval mind of the shorn heads of the priests.
Medicinally the Dandelion contains: a bitter crystalline principle, Taraxacin(Provides the tonic properties), a crystalline substance Taraxacerin(Provides the diuretic properties), Phytosterols ( Reduces Cholesterol), Taraxasterol (Aids the liver) and Humotaraxasterol (Increases the excretion of sodium); It contains as much Iron as spinach, four times the Vitamin A content of the lettuce, as well as containing Vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E and P; It also contains Beta-Carotenes (Contributes to the orange colour ), Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, Inulin, Tannin, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Sodium, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.
Its actions are Cholagogus (Promotes the discharge of bile), Galactagogue (Promotes lactation), Anti-Rheumatic (Fights Rheumatism), Antiseptic (Prevents infection), Detoxicant (Purges the body of toxins), Choleretic (Stimulating bile production by the liver), Alkalizing (Acid neutralizing), Venotonic (Promotes Venous (Deoxygenated Blood) drainage), Laxative (Induces bowel movement), Tonic (Invigorating), slightly Aperient (Gently stimulates bowel evacuation), Pancreatic regulator. Pancreatic and Bile-Duct Stimulant and most famously as a diuretic (Elevates urination).

EFY-March-3c.jpg

Dandelion is mentioned in all the famous herbals of old were its virtues are praised, and is familiar to us all from its combination with Burdock (Arctium Lappa) in a very popular drink. Dandelion is used for the treatment of liver diseases, especially for flushing out toxins and excess salts, it helps build immunity and strengthens the liver and gallbladder and is excellent in curing all inflammatory conditions of the bile duct; It is effective too in curing gallstones, jaundice and cirrhosis of the liver.
The substances contained in dandelion help stimulate the stomach, and greatly aids in eliminating the toxic products of metabolism through urination, and as such it is used in cases of dyspepsia (Stomach indigestion), biliary dischinesis (Gall bladder disease), hypoacid gastritis (Inflammation of the stomach lining) and prevents renal calculi (Kidney stones) as well as treating flatulence and constipation and acting as general tonic for the body. Due to its high vitamin and mineral content, it is an excellent anti-oxidant and anti-cancer agent and helps to treat hepatitis, anorexia nervosa, hypoglycaemia (Low blood sugars), cachexia (A wasting syndrome) and other wasting diseases, gout, phthisis (Pulmonary Tuberculosis), some curtaneous diseases (Diseases of the skin), rheumatism, bone disorders, anaemia (Decrease in red blood cells) and the late onset of diabetes; it is also effective as a purifier of the blood, congestive heart failure and as such is prescribed by herbalists for every case of oedema (Swelling) of the heart
Externally it used for the treatment of acne, blisters, corns, freckles and even for treating greasy hair, the sap from the stem is also used for the treatment of warts.
The Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) recommends it for all of the above and also for consumption, pestilent fevers, cleanses aposthumes and inward tumours in the urinary passages he also recommends it to procure rest and sleep to bodies distempered by the heat of ague fits and as a wash for sores.
The dandelion is also an excellent salad herb and is greatly consumed on the continent, both as a salad and cooked as a vegetable, and is also made into a tea, the roots being used as a coffee substitute and the whole herb was made into an excellent wine.
Magically it is under the dominion of the planet Venus though some place it under the dominion of Jupiter and because of its many virtues the ancient Celts held it as being under the auspices of the Goddess Bridget whom was later Christianised into a saint. The seed head was used for divination by blowing the seeds off, one blow indicated passionate love, to leave some remaining meant the love was fickle, it was also believed that blowing the seeds of a ripened head would carry your thoughts to another.
According to Scott Cunningham (1956-1993) the well known Wiccan author, dandelion was said to increase psychic abilities when taken as a tea, and a tea of the roots left steaming and placed beside the bed would call the spirits and being buried in the northwest corner of the house would bring favourable winds.
It was held that anyone who gathered dandelions and brought them into the house would pee the bed later that night, and children would mock anyone who picked the flowers and would call them piss the beds, though the seed heads were fair game and were used for telling the time, each blow counting as an hour and beginning from one o clock, when the all the seed heads were gone the resulting count would be the time. Blowing of the seed heads was also used to find out if someone loved you, with each blow the words s/he love me. s/he loves me not, was uttered till when the last seeds were blown off the answer would be given, this method was also used for finding out when you would get married, saying ‘this year’ ‘next year’, ‘sometime’ ‘never’.
The floating seed heads were called fairies by young children and considered to be lucky if caught whilst in the air in much the same way as it was considered to be lucky to catch an autumn leaf. It was said that if a child sniffed the flowers on May Day they would cease bed wetting for a year, and flowers picked on that day would make a most delicious and curative wine. Farmers would plant many dandelions under their fruit trees to insure a handsome crop which science as now proved to be effective as the plant gives of ethylene gas which ripens fruit.
It was held sacred to Hecate, Bridget and Belenos.
Most animals eat the leaves of the dandelion especially rabbits, pigs and goats, though sheep and cattle do not much care for it, horses refuse to touch it on account of its bitter juice and it is considered an excellent food for tortoises and turkeys. Small birds are very fond of the seeds and it is invaluable to bee keepers as it is a great source of nectar and pollen from the beginning of spring to late autumn and it is known to be a food source to over ninety-three different kinds of insect; And is a food source for some species of the Lepidoptera (Butterflies and moths) including the Riband Wave moth (Idaea Aversata), the Small Fan-Footed Wave moth (Idaea Biselata), the Orange Swift moth (Triodia Sylvina), the Grey Chi moth (Antitype Chi), the Nutmeg moth (Anarta Trifolii or Hadula Trifolii), the Shark moth (Cucullia Umbratica), the Flame moth (Axylia Putris), the Satellite moth (Eupsilia Transversa), the Large Yellow Underwing moth (Noctua Pronuba), the Setaceous Hebrew Character moth (Xestia C-Nigrum) the Celypha Rufana moth, the Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris Brassicae), the Checkered skipper (Pyrgus Communis) and the Pearl-Boarded Fritillary (Boloria Euphrosyne) which is one of the earliest emerging butterflies of the spring. It is also visited by many different Hoverflies of the Syrphidae order and many different types of Thrips of the Thysanoptera order. *

Also on this day:

624 – Led by Muhammad, the Muslims of Medina defeat the Quraysh of Mecca in the Battle of Badr.

1805 – The Italian Republic, with Napoleon as president, becomes the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as King.

1959 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, flees Tibet for India.

1966 – Off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, the DSV Alvin submarine finds a missing American hydrogen bomb.

1992 – A referendum to end apartheid in South Africa was passed 68.73% to 31.27%.

2003 – Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook, resigns from the British Cabinet in disagreement with government plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


* 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.