9th 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!


Cold Dawn Over Liverpool, 2007: Maria Hughes

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




Teasels, Liverpool, December 2010: Jamie Reid

Saint's Day:
Adrian of Canterbury
Metropolitan Philip II of Moscow

Feast of the Most Holy Black Nazarene (Quiapo district, Manila, Philippines)
Martyrs' Day, commemorates the 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone. (Panama)
Republic Day (Republika Srpska)

Flowering Now by Saul Hughes: Shepherd’s Purse
Capsella Bursa-Pastoris.
Family. Brassicaceae (Cruciferae).
Gaelic Name. Lus Na Fola.


Also known as Lady’s purse, Shepherd’s heart, Shepherd’s bag, rattle pouches, Witches pouches, St James weed, and Mother’s heart. A very common weed of the Cruciferous order, and very distinctive too in its appearance due to the flat heart shaped seed pouches of the plant, which also gave rise to the descriptive elements in it folk names.
Capsella means ‘Little Box’, Bursa means ‘Purse’ and Pastoris translates as ‘Shepherd’ which is where the common name of this plant is derived from. The family name brassicaceae is the Latin derivative of the Celtic word Bresic, which means ‘Cabbage’ from the Old French ‘Caboche’ meaning ‘Head’.
The Gaelic name of Lus Na Fola means the ‘Blood Herb’ due to its Haemostatic actions. It is also known in Irish as Clappedepouch in reference to the begging lepers of Ireland, who would stand at the cross roads with a bell or clapper in one hand and a cup at the end of long pole.
A Much loved herb of the Ancients who recognised its many valuable uses, it is one of the most important drug plants of the brassicaceae order or the cabbage/mustard family. It contains flavonoids, fumaric and bursic acids, polypeptides, saponins, tannin, amines, volatile oils, including camphor and mustard oil. The plant acts as a Uterine stimulant, it is also, Astringent(Constricts body tissue), Anti –Haemorrhagic(Stems Bleeding), Antipyretic(Reduces Fever), Antiscorbutic (Prevents scurvy), Diuretic(increases urinary flow) and a Urinary antiseptic.


The haemostatic actions of which this plant is famous for, is due to the presence of Amines (choline, acetylcholine, tyramine and histamines) during the First World War, when Ergot and Hydrastis were no longer available this herb was found to be almost as equal as them in their haemostatic actions, a liquid extract being used to arrest bleeding. The flavonoids it contains are anti-inflammatory and its tannins are astringent. The polypeptides have a contractile action on the uterus and have much been used in the treatment of varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Its Diuretic actions are in part due to the presence of mustard oil.
The whole plant was used as a pot herb, and it is currently cultivated in Eastern countries as food crop. It is one of the earliest wild greens in spring and was a valuable wild food source in scarce months. The leaves contain large amounts of Thiamin( Vitamin B1), Inositol and fumaric acid, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Beta-Carotene(Vitamin A), Iron, Rutin Niacin and Vitamin K.
When dried the herb yields a tea which herbalists believe is one of the finest for stopping all types of haemorrhages of the stomach, lungs, uterus and more especially bleeding from the kidneys. The great herbalist Culpepper says it helps bleeding both inward and outward and being bound to the wrists or the soles of the feet helps those with the jaundice, he also goes on to say that it is good for inflammations and the St Anthony’s fire by being poured into the ear to stop the ‘Pains, noise and matterings thereof’.
It’s astringent properties was much employed against diarrhoea, a fresh decoction being used for haematuria, haemorrhoids and dysentery, it is also poured onto cotton wool to stem nose bleeding. The herb is much valued for its fight against catarrhal conditions of the bladder and ulcerated conditions and abscess of the bladder.
The plant according to John Josselyn’s Herbal was unknown to America prior to the Pilgrim Fathers, though once known by the native Americans, it quickly became part of the material medica, being used to ease stomach aches, cramps, dysentery, used to kill and expel intestinal worms and as a lotion to heal stings.
In magical folklore the plant was used as a charm against bleeding, the seeds were used as amulets for teething children and eating the seeds of the first three plants that one sees in the beginning of the year was said to protect against all maladies till the year is out. Culpepper assigned the plant under the auspices of the planet Saturn.
Chaffinches ( Fringilla Coelebs), Goldfinches (Carduelis Carduelis) and Grouse (Lagopus lagopus Scotica) are known to have a great fondness for the seeds, poultry too will eat the green herb and it has been noticed that the egg yolks become dark in colour and stronger in flavour. It is a foodplant for the weevil (Ceutorhynchus Erysimi) and the Leaf Mining Fly (Chromatomyia Horticola.)
The seeds also produce mucilage, which when wet become very sticky, trapping insects and even small aquatic animals, holding them there till they die and they end up serving as a fertilizer for the plant, the effect of the adhesive mucilage when wet is so effective it has been used for controlling mosquito populations by scattering the seeds in lakes causing the larvae to stick to the seeds and eventually die, making this a borderline carnivorous plant, though the debates about this plant being a true carnivore go on.*

Also on this day:

1349 – The Jewish population of Basel, Switzerland, believed by the residents to be the cause of the ongoing Black Death, is rounded up and incinerated.

1806 – Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul's Cathedral.

1816 – Sir Humphry Davy tests the Davy lamp for miners at Hebburn Colliery.

1839 – The French Academy of Sciences announces the Daguerreotype photography process.

1858 – Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, commits suicide.

1905 – According to the Julian Calendar which is used at the time, Russian workers stage a march on the Winter Palace that ends in the massacre by Tsarist troops known as Bloody Sunday, setting off the Russian Revolution of 1905.

1909 – Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, plants the British flag 97 miles (156 km) from the South Pole, the furthest anyone had ever reached at that time.

1918 – Battle of Bear Valley: The last battle of the American Indian Wars.

1947 – Elizabeth "Betty" Short, the Black Dahlia, is last seen alive.

1951 - Life After Tomorrow, 1st film to receive an "X" rating, premieres

1964 – Martyrs' Day: Several Panamanian youths try to raise the Panamanian flag on the U.S.-controlled Panama Canal Zone, leading to fighting between U.S. military and Panamanian civilians.

1997 - A heart attacks sends Frank Sinatra back to hospital

* 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.