Legends & Lore for February

February, the second month of the current Gregorian calendar and the third month of Winter's rule, derives its name from Februa, the name of a Roman purification festival held on the fifteenth day of February in ancient times. The traditional birthstone amulet of February is the amethyst; and the primrose and the violet are the month's traditional flowers.

February is shared by the astrological signs of Aquarius the Water-Bearer and Pisces the Two Fishes, and is sacred to the following pagan deities: Aradia, Brigid, Juno Februa, and the Wiccan Goddess in Her aspect as the Maiden. During the month of February, the Great Solar Wheel of the year is turned to Candlemas, one of the four Great Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.

February 1Candlemas Eve

Brigit, the Celtic Earth-Mother and goddess of fire, wisdom, poetry, and sacred wells, is honored on this day. In Ireland, offering of yellow flowers are made to the goddess at sacred wells dedicated to her. In ancient Greece, the three-day Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries began each year on this day in honor of the goddesses Ceres, Demeter, Persephone, and Proserpine.


February 2

On this day, the Candlemas Sabbat is celebrated by Wiccans and Witches throughout the world. Candlemas (which is also known as Imbolc, Oimelc, and Lady Day) is a fire festival that celebrates the coming of Spring. New beginnings and spiritual growth are represented by the "sweeping out of the old," symbolized by the sweeping of the circle with a besom (a Witch's broom). This is traditionally done by the High Priestess of the coven, who wears a brilliant crown of thirteen candles on top of her head. In ancient Europe, the Candlemas Sabbat was celebrated with a torchlight procession to purify and fertilize the fields before the seed-planting season, and to honor and give thanks to the various deities and spirits associated with agriculture.

This day is also known as "Groundhog's Day", for that persnickety prognosticator and harbinger of Spring in the West.

February 3

On this date, an annual ceremony called the Blessing of the Throats takes place to honor the healing powers of Saint Blaise and to magickally ward off throat ailments brought on by the winter's cold.

   

February 4

Throughout Japan the evil demons of winter are exorcised annually on this day with a festival called the Setsu-bun. Beans are placed in every corner of a family's house, and pointed branches and sardine heads are mounted over the doors. Centuries-old purification rites are performed by priests in all temples and shrines. Prayers are written on slips of paper and then cast from bridges into the rivers below.

February 5

On this date in the year 1962, the Great conjunction of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn occurred in the sign of Aquarius.

On this day, the annual Feast of Ia is celebrated in honor of, and to invoke the power of, the Sacred Maiden of the Pagan mythos.

February 6

Throughout northern Japan, a centuries-old winter snow festival takes place each year around this time of the month. The ancient and beneficial spirits that bring life-sustaining water are honored at special shrines erected in huts resembling Eskimo igloos.

A festival in honor of the love goddess Aphrodite was held each year on this date in ancient Greece.

February 7

On this date (approximately), the annual spring fertility festival known as Li Chum is celebrated in China. Bamboo and paper effigies of a water buffalo (an animal which symbolizes "new life") are carried through the streets by a temple-bound procession. After reaching the temple, the effigies are set on fire in the belief that prayers for prosperity will be taken up to heaven by the rising smoke.

February 8

The annual nighttime ritual known as the Star Festival is celebrated on this date (approximately) in China. The stars that influence the fate of mankind are honored by the lighting of 108 small lanterns on a special altar, and prayers are offered to the sacred stars that governed one's birth.

February 9

In northern Norway, the Narvik Sun Pageant is held annually on this date in honor of the ancient Pagan goddess who rules over the Sun. The festival, which has been celebrated since pre-Christian times, begins at sunrise and continues throughout the day until the shadows of evening darken the sky.

February 10

An ancient African festival marking the beginning of the fishing season and the New Year is celebrated annually on this day by members of the Kebbawa tribe of Nigeria. The ancient gods of their religion are honored and invoked, and traditional fish divinations are performed.

In pre-Christian times, the goddess Anaitis was honored on this day in the country of Persia (now Iran). She was a deity who was said to have possessed great powers over the Moon and the seas.

February 11

Each year on this date, millions of faithful men, women, and children make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady in Lourdes. A spring in the village of Lourdes, France, is believed by many to possess curative powers. The pilgrims bathe in the water in the hope that it will heal their illnesses and disabilities.

February 12

On this date in the year 1663, the infamous clergyman Cotton Mather was born in Boston, Massachusetts. (This is certainly one birthday no Witch would ever celebrate!) His writings and sermons condemning the practice of the Old Religion contributed greatly to the hysteria of the 1692 Salem Witch-hunt. Cotton Mather died in Boston, one day after his birthday, in the year 1728.

February 13

On this date, an annual holiday called the Parentalia was observed in ancient Rome. It lasted until the twenty-first of February and was a day for families to honor and commemorate their deceased loved ones, particularly their parents. During the week of Parentalia, all temples in Rome were closed and all wedding ceremonies forbidden. Ancestral tombs were visited and offerings of wine and flowers were made to family ghosts.

February 14

Saint Valentine's Day. This is a day dedicated to all lovers, and the traditional time for Witches around the world to practice all forms of love magick and love divination.

This day is sacred to Juno-Lupa, the she-wolf goddess of the ancient Roman religion. In early times, she was honored annually on this day by a women's fertility festival and the sacrifice of a female wolf.

February 15

On this date in ancient Rome, a festival known as the Lupercalia (Feast of the Wolf) was celebrated to honor the god Lupercus and to mark the beginning of Spring. The festival, which was a rustic ritual of both purification and fertility magick, also included the sacrifice of goats and dogs to the god Faunus (identified by classical writers as the horned goat-god Pan). During the orgiastic festival, young men would choose their sexual partners by drawing the names of young women out of a bowl.

February 16

In the distant past, a rite called the Devil's Dance was performed annually on this date (approximately) as part of the Tibetan New Year festival. Monks wearing grotesque masks would dance for hours as a village sorcerer exorcised demons and the evil influences of the past year with various magickal incantations.

February 17

On this day, according to Hindu religion and mythology, the fearsome goddess known as Kali was born and the world entered into the Kali Yuga (the "Evil Age"). Kali, the destroyer-goddess, was depicted with black skin, a hideous face, and four arms. In ancient times, human sacrifices were made to appease her and to satisfy her thirst for blood.

February 18

On this day, a festival of women known as the Spenta Armaiti was held annually throughout the country of Persia. Ancient fertility rites were performed by temple priestesses in honor of the goddess Spandarmat, and the goddess who dwells within all women was honored and invoked with special prayers and meditations.

February 19

On this date (approximately), the Sun enters the astrological sign of Pisces. Persons born under the sign of the Two Fishes are said to be telepathic, tolerant, sensitive, artistic, and often prone to daydreaming. Pisces is a water sign and is ruled by the planet Neptune.

According to mythology, the goddess Minerva was born on this day (which is sacred to the Pagan deities Nammu and Nina).

February 20

On this date in the year 1882, the Society for Psychical Research was founded in London, England, by a group of prominent philosophers and physicists. It became Britain's leading organization for research into the world of supernatural phenomena and the paranormal.

February 21

In ancient Rome, an All Soul's Day ceremony known as the Feralia was held annually on this date at the close of the Parentalia festival. Family reunions were held and Lares (ancestral guardian spirits) were honored with prayers and offerings.

February 22

On this day in the year 1917, Sybil Leek was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England. She achieved fame and success as a modern Witch, astrologer, and occult author. Her psychic predictions of the Kennedy assassinations and the election of Richard M. Nixon as president of the United States are documented. She passed away on October 26, 1982 in Melbourne, Florida.

February 23
On this date, the last festival of the ancient Roman year (the Terminalia) was celebrated annually in honor of the god Terminus, a deity who ruled over boundaries and frontiers. During the Terminalia, neighbors whose lands were divided and protected by Terminus would gather together an pour libations of wine, honey, and the blood of sacrificed pigs on their stone boundary-markers.

February 24

Shiva, the multifaceted Hindu god of destruction and renewal, is honored annually on this date (approximately) by a day of fasting, followed by an oil-lamp vigil known as the Shivaratri (Shiva's Night) that takes place at shrines dedicated to him.

February 25

In many parts of the Christian world, a joyous pre-Lenten celebration known as Carnival takes place annually on or around this date. In ancient days, orgiastic fertility rites and sacrifices of humans and animals to herald the arrival of Spring were common at this time of the year in many parts of the world.

February 26

Pentagram Night. As a symbolic gesture to reaffirm your dedication to the Craft of the Wise, dip your fingertip into a small cauldron pot filled with Yule-log ashes and then use it to draw the sacred symbol of the Witches' Pentagram (five pointed star within a circle) over your heart at the first stroke of midnight.

February 27

On this day in the year 1861, famous psychic and spiritual philosopher Rudolf Steiner was born in Kraljevic (which was part of Hungary at that time). He possessed clairvoyant powers and communicated often with nonphysical entities. In 1902, he was appointed general secretary of the German Section of the Theosophical Society, and in 1913, he established his own school for esoteric research. He died on March 30, 1925.

February 28

In ancient times, a Chaldean Sabbat known as the Sabbatu was celebrated each year on this date.

On this day of the year, the Earth-Goddesses Ceres, Demeter, Gaia, Ge, and Mauri are honored by many Pagans and Wiccans around the world.

Also honored annually on this day is the ancient Pagan deity Zamyaz, who was worshipped and offered sacrifices by the ancient Chaldeans and Persians.

February 29

On this date in the year 1692, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam, two young girls from Salem Village, Massachusetts, accused three local women of using the black arts of Witchcraft to torment and bewitch them. On the following day, Sarah Good, Sarah Osburne, and a West African slave named Tituba were arrested, marking the beginning of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. By the end of the year, when the trials were finally brought to a close, over 200 women and men had been arrested and jailed, 19 had been hanged at Gallows Hill, and one man had been pressed to death.

According to folklore, this is a very unlucky day to have a love letter postmarked. It will lead to the breakup of your love affair or engagement.

"If the February-born shall find,
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If she the Amethyst will wear."

Country weather lore calls this month February fill-dyke, indicating a
god deal of snow or rain is to be expected:

"February, fill the dyke,
Either with black or white,
If it's white, the better I like."

It is thought that a snowy month means that the spring will be fine.

"When February give much snow,
A fine Summer dost foreshow."

A mild and sunny February is thought to be a bad omen, presaging a wet
and stormy Summer:

"Of al the months in the year,
Curse a fair Februeer."

Oystercathchers are supposed to be one of the early bird arrivals for Spring, in Gaelic the birds are known as Gille Brighde.

On Valentine's Eve, boil an egg and remove the yolk placing some salt in the cavity. Eat prior to retiring for a sight of your Valentine in your dreams!

The first bird that you see on Valentine's morning will tell you something of your future partner:

A sparrow means a poor man, a robin a sailor, a dove money and a goldfinch means happiness and wealth.

In Wales on the last night of February the Cwn Annwn are to be found roaming the skies. These are the hounds of the Underworld.

Sources:

http://www.maxpages.com/eclecticwicca2/February

http://www.celticmist.freeserve.co.uk