22nd 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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Holly Hedge, Calderstone Park, Liverpool 2007: 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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Early Spring frost, Liverpool, Spring 2010: Jamie Reid

Saint's Day:
Blessed Isabelle of France
Margaret of Cortona

Festival:
Celebrity Day (Church of Scientology)
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (Roman Catholic Church)
Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom in 1979.
World Thinking Day, also known as "B.-P. day" or "Founder's Day" (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Periwinkle
Vinca Minor.
Family: Apocynaceae.
Gaelic Name: Feoghaig.

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Also known as Cut Finger, Death’s Flower, Dicky Dilver, Blue Buttons, Sorcerer’s Violet, Virgin Flower and St Candida’s eyes.
The Periwinkles are familiar flowers amongst the woodlands and gardens of these Isles, though there is doubt among botanists whether this plant is a true native of these Isles, though some of the names it goes by in these Isles are of very old usage. The Name of the genus Vinca and the English name of Periwinkle are both derived from the Latin ‘Vincio’ meaning ‘To bind’ or ‘Wind About’; in allusion to the trailing habit of the plant that spreads over and dominates other plants were it grows. This habit of the plant is alluded to by the poet Wordsworth (1770-1850): ‘Through primrose tufts in the sweet bower, the fair periwinkle trailed its wreaths.’ The name of the species ‘Minor’ is named to distinguish it from the other species ‘Major’ both known as the lesser and greater periwinkles due to the size difference of their leaves. They are the only representatives in these Isles of the family order Apocynaceae, the Dogbane family, the name Apocynaceae is derived from the Latin ‘Apocynum’ meaning ‘Away Dog’ as the main representative of this family the Dogbane is poisonous to dogs; most mammals tend to avoid these periwinkles too, due to them containing the Alkaloid Vincamin.
The Gaelic name of Feoghaig means ‘Roll of Hair’ in reference to the winding nature of this plant and like the name periwinkle is also applied to the cone shaped whorled shells of the edible marine snails of the genus Littorina.

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The folk names of Blue Button and Virgin flower refer to the lovely blue colour of the flowers, the virgin being Our Lady whose robes are blue, the name periwinkle as also become the name of a colour blue. The name of St Candida’s Eyes originates from Dorset County in the South West of England, St Candida has been identified with St Wite to whom the church of Whitchurch Canonicorum is dedicated, she has also been identified with St Gwen and St Blanche, St Blanche is associated with ‘Blanche’s causeway’ the luminous effects of trails of disturbed water, later identified as St Candida, her tomb which became her shrine and mysteriously survived the brutal reformation was the scene of much veneration and a sacred well which bears her name just a mile from the church was reputed to have healing powers and was a sovereign cure for the eyes, nearby to the well the area abounded in periwinkles and became known as St Candida’s eyes.
The periwinkle is also known in British slang as ‘Dicky Dilver’ but the reason for thus are now obscure, Dicky Dilver is sung about in the old rhyme which goes as thus: ‘Little Dicky Dilver, had a wife of silver; he took a stick and broke her back and sold her to the miller. The miller wouldn’t have her so he threw in the river’.
Medicinally the periwinkles (Both minor and major being very similar in properties.) contain the alkaloid Vincamin which is used in pharmaceutical preparations as a cerebral stimulant and vasodilator to improve blood flow to the brain and inner ear. It also contains Vanillic Acid (Used as a flavouring agent.) Ursolic Acid (Used in cosmetics and also capable of inhibiting various types of cancer.) P-Coumaric Acid (this has antioxidant properties and is believed to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.) Beta-Sitosterol (Which plays a major role in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which are the formation of large discrete nodules in the prostrate.) and Reserpine (An indole alkaloid which is an antipsychotic and antihypertensive drug.)
The herb has Antibacterial (Kills bacteria), Carminative (Soothes the gut), Astringent (Constricts body tissue.) Cephalic (Eases headache and other disorders of the head), Diuretic (elevates the rate of urination), Antispasmodic (reduces muscle spasms), Sedative (induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement), Hemostatic (stops bleeding) and Depurative (has a purifying and detoxifying action) qualities.

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Traditionally used in herbal medicine for treating Menorrhagia an abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period, haemorrhages, and all inflammatory ailments of the skin and as an excellent remedy for piles. The herb was also well used for obstructions of mucus in the intestines and lungs.
Its uses in stemming bleeding led to the folk name of Cut Finger, and this plant is identified as being the Vincapervinca of Pliny the Elder (23AD-79AD). Dioscorides (40AD-90AD) says this plant is a great binder and commends if against the fluxes. Culpepper (1616-1654) recommends it also as a ‘great binder, staying bleeding both at mouth and nose’ also ‘to stay away women’s menses’ and ‘against the lask and fluxes of the belly’. The flowers are gently purgative and were used as a gentle laxative for children and for overcoming chronic constipation in adults. The herb is mentioned in William Coles (1626-1662) ‘Adam and Eve’ (printed 1657) as being an excellent remedy for cramp, he mentions a friend of his who suffered terribly from the condition and nothing would ease it, until he wrapped some of the branches about his limbs.
In modern Herbalism it plays an important role in improving neurological and psychical symptoms such as memory loss, concentration and attention disorders, dementia, tinnitus, visual disorders and depression; the plant helps in the improvement of cerebral functions. It has also been studied with the possible uses of being an efficient substitute for Insulin, something which the ancient herbalists have long used for this purpose.
Magically the herb is under the auspices of the planet Venus. An old name of this herb in reference to its colour and its uses within the magical traditions is Sorcerers Violet also known as ‘Violette Des Sorciers’ in old French. It was very popular in love charms and love-philtres, so much so that it became the most auspicious and aphrodisiac plant for newlyweds, and became part of the bride’s apparel as reflected in the rhyme: ‘Something old, something new. Something borrowed something blue.’ The something blue, being the periwinkle, which the bride would wear in her garter. Newlyweds would often plant the periwinkle in the gardens of their new homes to ensure happiness in their marriage. Culpepper claimed that if the leaves be eaten by man and wife together it would cause love between them. Practitioners of voodoo in the Caribbean sew the leaves into the mattress to keep the husband and wife forever in love, and the blue flowers were a symbol of spiritual peace and harmony.
Apuleius (Circa 125-180) in his ‘Herbarium’ (printed in 1480) states the herb is good in the fight against the devil sickness, demonical possessions, snakes and wild beasts, poisons, envy and terror and that it grants grace and can fulfil wishes, he recommends it be plucked when the moon is nine nights old, eleven nights old, thirteen nights old, thirty nights old and when it is one night old and thou shall be clean of all uncleanness. St Albertus Magnus (circa 1208-1280) states in the work ‘The book of secrets: being of the virtues of Herbs, Stones and certain beasts’. Says that if the herb be beat with the powder of worms and the house leek (semperviva) and eaten would induce love between man and woman.
The name ‘Death’s Flower’ arises because of its use children’s funeral wreaths, the colour being considered appropriate and because of the belief that it was the flower of immortality. In medieval England the flower was wove into garlands and placed about the neck of condemned men on their way to the gallows, and it was thus placed in mockery upon the head of brave Simon Fraser in 1306 when he was took prisoner fighting for Scottish hero William Wallace (1272/3-1305), when he was led heavily ironed through London to his place of execution at Tyburn.
In Wales it was considered that ill luck would be unleashed on those picking the flower from the grave, and on those of the perpetrators family and that the person would be haunted by the owner of the grave.
The flower is a source of nectar to the Bumble Bee (Bombini Bombus), the Mason Bee of the order Osmia, Bees of the Anthophora order and the Bee Flies of the Bombylidae order including the Bombylius major. The herb is also a food source for Thrips of the order Thysanoptera. Two moths are also known to feed upon it, the Oleander Hawk-Moth (Daphnis Nerii) and the Clouded-Bordered Brindle (Apamea Crenata). The Brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx Rhamni) also feed on the nectar.*

Also on this day:

1632 – Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published.

1797 – The Last Invasion of Britain begins near Fishguard, Wales.

1904 – The United Kingdom sells a meteorological station on the South Orkney Islands to Argentina, the islands are subsequently claimed by the United Kingdom in 1908.

1972 – The Official Irish Republican Army detonates a car bomb at Aldershot barracks, killing seven and injuring nineteen others.

1983 – The notorious Broadway flop Moose Murders opens and closes on the same night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

1986 – Start of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines


* 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.