31st December

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!

Snowfall-on-Maria%27s-Balcony.jpg

Snowfall on Maria's Balcony, Liverpool, 2007: Jamie Reid

Moon Phases, December 2014
Full Moon – December 6, 12:27
Last Quarter – December 14, 12:51
New Moon – December 22, 1:36
First Quarter – December 28, 18:31

-

CURRENT MOON


Plot3.jpg

Allotment in winter chill, Liverpool, December 2010: Jamie Reid

Saint's Day:
Pope Sylvester I

Festival:
International Solidarity Day (Azerbaijan)
'Last Day of the Year' or Bisperas ng Bagong Taon, special holiday between Rizal Day and New Year's Day (the Philippines)
The first day of Hogmanay or "Auld Year’s Night" (Scotland)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Primrose
Primula Vulgaris.
Family. Primulaceae.
Gaelic Name. Sobrach, sobrag.

Dec4a.jpg

The primrose is a very well known and very variable plant, there being about 500 species to the genus. Its common name, the name of the genus and the name of the family are all derived from the Latin primus, meaning first, (The first rose) as this plant is one of the first to flower in spring, and is much loved by gardeners for its colourful flowers being on display in the coldest months of the year, when not much else is about.
The name Vulgaris is from the Latin vulgare meaning common, Its Gaelic names Sobrach and Sobrag roughly translate as pleasure, joy and delight.
There is a beautiful legend about Primrose and how it came to be, it begins with the Goddess Flora, queen of the flowers walking in her garden and seeing her son Paralisos laying in the grass weeping and wailing for a maiden he had loved and lost, she turned him into the primrose (she had quite a habit of turning youth into flowers, Anemone, Crocus, Narcissus, to name but a few) and there paralisos stood, holding up his staff of pale sweet blossoms, both night and day, folding his petals when the sun shone to brightly and opening them in the cool of the day. His mother so loved her primrose son that she planted him in the meadows and woods for all to see. The ancient name of this plant was Paralisos.
There is a lot of fairy folklore attached to primroses, as they are believed to have the ability to let one see the fairies, if you touched a fairy rock with the right number of primroses you will be shown the way to the land of the fairies, touch it with the wrong number and it would lead to your doom. It was believed that if children ate the flowers it would enable them to see fairies, a legend from Germany refers to young girl who came across a doorway in the woods covered in flowers, she touched it with a primrose and the door opened to reveal a enchanted castle of the fairies. The flowers were also strewn on the door steps of houses so fairies would bless the house and the people in it and witches wouldn’t cross it. In Germany it was also known as Schusselblume (key flower) as it was believed this plant could lead one to hidden treasure. In Ireland the flowers were hung on cow’s tails to keep witches away and left in cowsheds so that the fairies would not steal the milk.

Dec4b.jpg

Medicinally the whole plant was used, both the root and the flower contain a fragrant oil and Primulin, which is identical to Mannite( a sweet crystlaine substance used in food additives and used illegally for diluting/cutting heroin and cocaine). Primrose is Antispasmodic, vermifuge(expels worms) emetic and astringent, in ancient times it was considered a excellent remedy against gout, muscular rheumatism, paralysis and against all nervous hysterical disorders. The juice from the stem was also used for removing blemishes of the skin and spots. It was highly recommended by Pliny the elder, Gerard and Culpepper.
Both the leaves and the flowers are edible, and the leaves were also made into a tea and a primrose wine, the flowers were once the main ingredient in a pottage called ‘primrose pottage’.
Primroses are mostly pollinated at night by moths attracted by the bright colours, it is a particular food plant of the bordered yellow Underwing(Noctua fimbriata) the Lesser Bordered yellow Underwing(Noctua Janthe) the double square spot(Xestia Triangulum) the silver ground carpet (Xanthorhoe Montanata) the Green Arches(Anaplectoides Prasina) the Gothic(Naenia Typica) the Riband wave(Idaea Aversata) and the Twin Spot Carpet(Xanthorhoe Quadrifasiata) moths.
The caterpillars of the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary butterfly(Hamearis Lucina) feed on the leaves and ants are attracted by the sweet honey in the flowers.*

Also on this day:

406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1695 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.

1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.

1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1960 – The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.

* 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.