21st March

spring equinox-alban eilir. a time of balance and reassesment.12 hours
dark-12 hours light.but moving towards the light of summer.time to plant
seeds in all senses.moving forwards and growing.light over the waters.
but amidst great turmoil,bumpy rides ahead.when will it end?gaia is responding to it all,she has to protect herself....but remember light follows the dark and remember to put your spuds in...alllove.

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Alban Eiler,
Spring Equinox, Trefoil with full moon centre. 2011 Jamie Reid

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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Magical Fritillaries, 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

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CURRENT MOON

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Shameless joy, Liverpool, Spring 2011: Saul Hughes

Saint's Day:
Nicholas of Flüe
Serapion of Thmuis

Festival:
Birth of Benito Juárez, a Fiestas Patrias (Mexico)
Harmony Day (Australia)
Human Rights Day (South Africa)
Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Namibia from South African mandate in 1990
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (International)
Mother's Day (most of the Arab World)
Nowrouz (lit. "New Day" in Persian) : the Persian New Year; the first day of the Persian calendar, i.e. 1st of Farvardin, is observed on the Vernal Equinox and usually coincides with March 21st, except for leap years when it coincides with March 20th.
The first day of Bahá, the first month in Bahá'í calendar (Bahá'í Faith)
The third day of Quinquatria, in honor of Minerva. (Roman Empire)
Truant's Day (Poland)
World Down Syndrome Day (International)
World Poetry Day (International)
Youth Day (Tunisia)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Daffodil the Flower of the Spring Equinox
Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus. Narcissus Poeticus. Narcissus Jonquilla.
Family: Amaryllidaceae.
Gaelic Name: Lus a Chrom-Chinn.
Also known as Narcissus, Lent Lilly, Daffy-down-Lilly, Jonquilla and Affodilly.

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No other flower is more associated with the Spring Equinox than the Daffodil, whose bright yellow flower is a symbol of the sun and a harbinger of spring. A flower of the Goddess of spring, Ostara, the daffodil was held sacred to her and included in the celebrations of rebirth and renewal.
The names of Daffodil, Daffy-Down-Lilly and Affodilly all stem from the corruption of the name Asphodel, the flower of the ancient Greeks with which the blossoms of the daffodil was supposed to be identical to. It was thus known in France as the Fleur D’Asphodele and in Old English as the Affodell, the introduction of the letter D probably stems from the Dutch article ‘De’ as in ‘De Affodil’.
The name of the Genus ‘Narcissus’ has two origins one being that it is so named after Narcissus the classical youth who met his end through his own vanity by trying to embrace his reflection in a clear stream and who fable claims was thus turned into a flower, the other and more probable origin of the name is that it comes from the Greek word ‘Narkao’ meaning ‘to be numb’ on account of the narcotic qualities of this plant; Pliny the Elder (23AD-(79AD) states in his Naturalis Historia : ‘Narce narcissum dictum, non a fabuloso puero’ (Named narcissus from Narce, not from the fabulous boy.) The name of the species ‘Pseudo-Narcissus’ refers to this plant not being the true Asphodel of the ancient Greeks. The species name of ‘Poeticus’ means of the poets in reference to the great poets whom mentioned it in their works from Virgil (70BC-19BC) to William Wordsworth (1770-1850). The species name of ‘Jonquilla’ comes from the Spanish diminutive of ‘Junco’ (The Rush) because of this species slender rush like stem, and this is the only species of daffodil that has a sweet aroma, whilst the aroma of the Poeticus species are deleterious and if gathered and brought indoors are reported to cause headaches and vomiting.
The name of the family order the daffodils belong to Amaryllidaceae (lily family) is from the Greek word Amaryssein meaning to sparkle and is also the name of Amaryllis who was a shepherdess in Greek myth who loved a vain shepherd who would only return her love if she created a flower, so she stabbed herself in the heart and the blood that fell forth created the red Amaryllis flower which gave the Lily family its name.

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The Gaelic name of Lus a Chrom-Chinn literary means ‘The plant having a bent or dropping head’. The English folk name of Lent Lilly arises from the plant flowering at the time of this Christian festival which falls in the spring. It was known as ‘Osterglocken’ (Easter bells) in Germany and were the most popular Easter flowers for decoration as they were in these Isles also, probably stemming from their use in Pre- Christian times as a flower of the Spring Equinox and the Goddess Ostara whose name in Old English was Eostre and whose Anglo-Saxon month ‘Eostur-Monath gave rise to the festival of Easter, and became Christianised as the time of Christ’s resurrection, and the daffodil became sacred to Christianity as symbol of this resurrection and Christian legend asserts the first daffodil appeared in the garden of Gethsemane during the happening of the last supper of Christ and his twelve apostles and was a symbol of sorrow and also of hope.
The daffodil is also famously known as a symbol of Saint David whose feast day is the first of March and is the day traditionally designated as when the daffodil first flowers and alongside the Leek became the symbol of the Land of Wales, though this also stems from the plant being the national symbol of the Druids symbolizing purity and rebirth.
The Greek philosopher Socrates (469BC-399BC) called the plant ‘The Chaplet of the Infernal Gods’ because of its narcotic effects and from the habit of the ancient Greeks planting this flower near ancient tombs to give company to the spirits of the dead; its dropping flowers and narcotic nature were a symbol of death to the Greeks, and were said to grow on the banks of Acheron and as a symbol denoting death and regret were said to cover the Elysian fields. Lucian (125AD-180AD) the Assyrian rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language states that Charon the ferryman, who rowed the souls of the dead over the river Styx, said ‘I know Mercury keeps us waiting here so long, down in these regions there is nothing to be had but Asphodels (Daffodil) and oblations, in the midst of mist and darkness; whereas up in heaven he finds it all bright and clear, with ambrosia there and nectar in plenty. The poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674) in his work Hesperides alludes to the daffodil as symbol of death: ‘When a daffodil I see, hanging down its head towards me, guess I may what I must be, first I shall decline my head, secondly I shall be dead, lastly, safely buried’.
It was considered bad luck to step on a daffodil, but that if you made effort to avoid to trampling them then good luck would be your fortune. To witness a daffodil droop or wilt whilst you were watching it was an omen of death, to bring a single bloom into your home was to bring misfortune, though to bring a bouquet would bring good fortune, though to be confined with blooming daffodils would bring on a migraine. An old English folklore says not to bring daffodils over the threshold when you had poultry nesting on eggs as the flowers would stop the eggs from hatching. The gypsies would consider them unlucky. The ancient Egyptians would make wreaths of daffodils during their funerals. The drooping daffodil symbolized Narcissus bowing his head to admire his own image in the river and it was said that in the centre of the daffodil was a cup that was filled with his tears after Nemesis the Goddess of vengeance turned him into this flower for spurning the love of the nymph Echo, and as such the flower was also held as a symbol of conceit, vanity and unrequited love and it was considered bad luck for a bride to hold or to be given a daffodil on her wedding day, it representing unhappiness, vanity, lost love and sorrow; though to give daffodils to your sweetheart was a sign of love, hope and joy and the sunny glow of the daffodils tells the one you love that their smile like the daffodil brightens your day, for a lady to give a man a daffodil denoted her insight into his chivalrous manner.

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It was said that the Romans brought the daffodils into these isles as they used the sap believing it had healing properties and they were said to eat the bulb to bring on a merciful death when their injuries and pain were beyond reproach, the bulb numbing their pain and then bringing about their death; Though it is more probable that ancient Druids brought the daffodil into these lands using them in their rituals and medicine.
A legend surrounds Saint Francis whose love of nature and animals was well known, his best friend being a rabbit, the animals of the forest gave the saint a gift of a nest full of brightly coloured eggs, the rabbit having asked the violet for its purple, the crocus for its blue and the daffodil for its bright yellow, so over come with joy of this wondrous gift, the Saint proclaimed that from now for evermore, that every year a basket full of coloured eggs would return in memory of the first Easter rabbit. The daffodils are also a symbol of Saint Zita whose many miracles are celebrated each April with the blessing of daffodils that grow around her church the Basilica di San Frediano in Lucca, Italy, were her incorruptible body lays. The occurrence of wild daffodils is said to indicate the former site of a religious foundation and probably stems from religious buildings being built atop of the ritual places and temples of the Druids, a sizeable population of wild daffodils is found in Lesnes Abbey wood, London, a woods whose name commemorates Lesney Abbey, an ancient wood land associated with Druid practice and later to have an Abbey built there and a Masonic lodge No 7393.
The daffodil is a symbol of Dionysus, Isis in her maiden aspect, Ostara and Persephone, legend relates that Persephone, wreathed in white daffodils was captured by Pluto, whose touch turned the flowers yellow and ever since daffodils have been planted on graves and in burial grounds which fall in Pluto’s domain. Yellow daffodils are under the dominion of the planet Mars, other daffodils are under the dominion of the planet Venus.
Medicinally the Daffodil contains a crystalline alkaloid that was first isolated by John Gerard (1545-1611/12) in 1578 and obtained in a pure state as Narcissine by jean-Marie Camille Guerin (1872-1962) in 1910 which is identical to Lycorine which is isolated from the red spider lily (Lycoris Radiata) and is what gives the daffodil its narcotic and poisonous qualities. It also contains other alkaloids and a lectin known as N. Pseudonarcissus agglutinin and crystals of calcium oxalate have been found in the plants sap.
It was said by Galen (129AD-199/217) to be astringent (Shrinks body tissue) and was used for wounds, hard imposthumes (abscess), for burns, for strained sinews, painful joints and for drawing forth thorns from any part of the body and the daffodil was the basis for an ancient ointment called Narcissimum. It has also been used in pulmonary congestion and as an Emetic to induce vomiting.
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) recommends it for ‘inducing vomiting, treating ague (fever) especially tertian ague which is frequently caught in the spring time’; added with barley and made into a plaster he used it for ‘dissolving hard swellings and abscesses’ and mixed with a variety of other ingredients it was dropped into the ears to fight the corrupt and running matter of the ears.
The Arabians commended the oil distilled from the bulb as a cure for baldness and as an aphrodisiac.
The bulbs have been known to be fatal to those who have mistakenly ate them thinking them to be wild onions, causing collapse and death by paralysis of the central nervous system. The bulbs of the species Poeticus being the most toxic., and as such no animal will eat it and rabbits often fall prey to it, the only insect from which the daffodil suffers from is the Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon Equestris) a species of Hover Fly of the family Syrphidae), the grub of which lays an egg on the bulb and it thus becomes a food for the resulting larva. Bees and butterflies visit the flowers which become a good food source during the spring months. *

Also on this day:

1800 – With the church leadership driven out of Rome during an armed conflict, Pius VII is crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mâché and a papal ring made from sweet wrappers.

1844 – The original date predicted by William Miller for the return of Christ.

1871 – Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

1952 – Alan Freed presents the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

1965 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

1980 – On the season finale of the soap opera Dallas, the infamous character J.R. Ewing is shot by an unseen assailant, leading to the catchphrase "Who shot J.R.?"


* 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.