3rd January

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

Moon Phases, January 2015:
Full Moon – January 5, 04:54
Third Quarter – January 13, 09:48
New Moon – January 20, 13:14
First Quarter – January 27, 04:49

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CURRENT MOON


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

Saint's Day:
Genevieve

Festival:
Tamaseseri Festival (Hakozaki Shrine, Fukuoka)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Cleavers
Galium Aparine.
Family. Rubiaceae.
Gaelic Name. Garbh Lus.

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A very common and well known plant, especially to children who delight in the clinging abilities of this plant. Also known as Goosegrass, Catchweed, Love-man, Barweed, Hedgeheriff, Robin run in the grass and Eriffe to name but a few, the majority of its folk names referring to its clinging nature, as its leaves are covered with tiny hooked bristles with which they will adhere to anything they come in contact with.
However the folk names of hedgeheriff and eriffe drive from the Anglo Saxon’Hedge rife’ meaning a tax gatherer or a robber as it would pluck the wool off the sheep as they passed it amongst the hedge row. The Ancient Greeks known it as Philanthropon because of its clinging nature and the folk name ‘love man’ is an Anglicized version of Philanthropon. The name Goosegrass is in reference to the fondness these birds have in eating it and at one time it was collected in large amounts for the feeding of poultry, horses, cows and sheep.

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The Name Galium derives from the Greek Gala (milk) as this herb was employed to make milk curdle instead of rennet. Aparine the name of this species is derived from the Greek Apario( to seize or lay hold of) again in reference to its clinging nature. The name of the natural order of plants this belongs to Rubiaceae means red from Rubia named after the Madder Rubia Tinctoria, and like this plant, it has red roots, which give a good red dye. This family contains over seventy genera and over four thousand species, including the coffee tree and Quinine, many of the plants of this family are noted for their beauty and fragrance of their blossoms.
The plant has many uses and was valued as an excellent coffee substitute, the seeds were gathered, dried and then roasted over a fire, and then used in the same way as coffee. The leaves were also used in making a soothing tea.

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Medicinally it is Diuretic(increases urine), Tonic, Vulnerary(wound healing) and Aperient (laxative). It was greatly employed for its curative powers against cancerous growths and tumours, a ointment being made from the stems and leaves and applied to the affected area by means of a poultice or a bandage whilst also drinking the expressed juices. The Hospital of St Vincent’s In Dublin had great success in treating chronic ulcers on the legs under the auspices of Dr Quinlan, the fresh herb being applied three times a day. The herb was also much used in spring juices and tonics, being used both internally as a cure all and pick me up, and externally against all kinds of cancerous growths, scurvy, scrofula, sun burn and even freckles. It was also considered very efficacious against epilepsy and colds of the head.
The crushed herb was also used as a remedy for the bites of insects, snakes and all other venomous creatures according to the herbalist Gerard, it was also used for stemming bleeding as the whole herb is slightly Astringent. The great herbalist Culpepper recommends it for ear ache.
The fresh herb is available all year round and it tends to blossom towards august, and a legend says they first burst into blossom when the Christian saviour was born. In Ireland the cleavers was used by the country girls as a rosary the small round seeds being used for the Hail Mary. *

Also on this day:

1431 – Joan of Arc is handed over to the Bishop Pierre Cauchon.

1496 – Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine.

1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

1777 – American general George Washington defeats British general Charles Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.

1924 – British explorer Howard Carter discovers the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.

1932 – Martial law is declared in Honduras to stop revolt by banana workers fired by United Fruit.

1962 – Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

1994 – More than seven million people from the former Apartheid Homelands, receives South African citizenship.


* 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.