Goddesses of the Calendar
CYBELE; RHEA. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “December
3. Cybele, Rhea, Goddess of Cosmic Life”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December
3rd: The Goddess Cybele, The Mother”.
Roman: BONA DEA. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “December 3 … Bona Dea, The
Good Goddess”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 3rd.. Bona Dea, The Good
Goddess, The Cosmos”.
BARBARA; Basque: THE LADY OF AMBOTO. (Irish Catholic Dir.)
“December 3. S.
Barbara, Virgin …” (Basque tradition cited by Roslyn Frank, in Lady-Unique,
iv. p. 71) “if the Lady of Amboto is found in
her cave on the day of St. Barbara, the following summer will be very
good and abundant [in crops, etc.], but if on
that day she is out of her cave, the following summer there will be
storms and upsets”. (Note: Roslyn Frank, id.)
“Within Basque folk belief,
storms were explained as having occurred as a
punishment by the Goddess for the immoral conduct or wrongdoing of her
... Within the indigenous cognitive
framework, it was always the Goddess who ultimately controlled the
forces of nature.”
Graeco-Roman: PALLAS ATHENA, MINERVA.
(Perp. Fest. Cal.) “December 4. Pallas Athene, Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom”. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Astraea 7 (December 4) Athene’s Day”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 4th: Pallas Athena, Minerva. Wisdom from experience and study. University
Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY; Feast of the
Immaculate Conception. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “December 8. Feast of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Octave ... Preface of B. V. M. Et
te in Conceptione Immac. throughout Oct ... Holiday of Obligation”.
(Ashe, The Virgin, p. 200) “In the
second half of the sixth century the Byzantines reached the point of
holy days for Mary alone ... Her conception
by her own legendary mother St. Anne was observed on 9th December, and
on 8th September”.
Bridgett, (Our Lady’s Dowry,
p. 231) “It
is certain that a feast in honour of Mary’s
Conception was celebrated in the Eastern Church long before the time of
St. Anselm . . there is no doubt that the
propagation of the feast through Europe took place especially from the
century, and that the origin of the movement
was in England. Nor can there be any question that it was generally
to St. Anselm.
“... In an old Danish Breviary we read the following lessons for the feast of the Conception
of the Blessed Virgin (ancient Ms. published by James Langebek, at p. 253 of the 3rd. Vol. of his Scriptores Rerum Danicarum)
“... Lectio VIII. ‘Then the prudent Abbot (i.e. Helsin) said: “How
can I keep the feast, when I know not the day
of her conception?” The heavenly messenger replied: “On the sixth
of the Ides of December is the day of her
revered conception; and the same office which is said on her Nativity
will be said
on her Conception, the word Nativitas being
changed, whenever it occurs, into Conceptio”. Having said this the
messenger disappeared. Then the venerable
abbot, on his knees, made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to celebrate the
her Conception …’ The date of this event
would be 1067”.
(Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna, p.
44) on the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in the 13th century: “A
certain Franciscan friar, Duns Scotus (John
Scott of Dunse), entered the lists as champion for the Virgin ...
the next two hundred years the belief became more and more general ...
The first papal decree touching the
‘Immaculate Conception’ as an article of
faith, was promulgated in the reign of Sixtus IV., who had been a
friar, and he took the earliest opportunity
of giving the solemnsanction of the Church to what had ever been the
dogma of his Order ...
“At length, in
July 1615, Paul V. formally instituted the office commemorating the
Immaculate Conception, and in 1617 issued a
bull forbidding anyone to teach or preach a contrary opinion. ‘On the
of this bull, Seville flew into a frenzy of
religious joy’. The archbishop performed a solemn service in the
Cannon roared ... tournaments and banquets
celebrated this triumph of the votaries of the Virgin. Spain and its
were solemnly placed under the protection of
the ‘Immaculate Conception’, thus personifying an abstract idea;
and to this day a Spaniard salutes his
neighbour with the angelic ‘Ave Maria purissima!’.”
Eccl. Hist. Vol. iii. p. 67) “In the year 1476, Sixtus IV., by a special edict,
promised remission of sins to those who religiously keep, from year to year, the memorial of the
immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin.”
(Dict. Univ. Biog.)
“Pius 1X ... in 1854 the doctrine of the immaculate conception was
announced as a tenet of the church by Pius
from his throne in St. Peter’s”.
(Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna,
p. 45) on the Immaculate Conception as
represented in art: “It is soon after this time (i.e. the bull of 1617)
we first hear of pictures of the Immaculate
Conception. Pacheco subsequently became ... inspector of sacred
in his ‘Arte de la Pintura’, published in
1649, he laid down those rules which had been generally, though not
always, exactly followed.
“It is evident that the idea is taken from the woman in the Apocalypse, ‘clothed
with sun, having the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars’ [Revelation,
xii, 1] The Virgin is to be portrayed in the
first spring and bloom of youth as a maiden of about twelve or thirteen
of age ... her features ‘with all the beauty
painting can express’ ... The sun is to be expressed as a flood of
light around her. The moon under her feet is
to have the horns painting downwards, because illuminated from above,
twelve stars are to form a crown over her
head ... Round her are to hover Cherubim bearing roses, palms and lilies
ought to have the cord of St. Francis as a
girdle, because in this guise she appeared to Beatriz de Silva, a noble
nun, who was favoured by a celestial vision
of the Madonna in her beatitude. Perhaps the good services of the
as champions of the Immaculate Conception
procured them the honour of being thus commemorated.
[Murillo] the crescent moon is sometimes the
full moon, or, when a crescent, the horns point upwards instead of
... here all is spotless grace, ethereal
delicacy, benignity, refinement ... the very apotheosis of womanhood ...
“The beautiful small ‘Conception’ by Velasquez ... is a
departure from the rules laid down by Pacheco
... Here the Virgin is arrayed in a pale
violet robe, with a dark blue mantle ... Her long hair flows over her
The figure is relieved against a bright sun,
with fleecy clouds around; and the twelve stars are over her head. She
on the round moon, of which the upper half is
illuminated. Below, on earth,, and through the deep shadow, are seen
emblems of the Virgin - the fountain, the
temple, the olive, the cypress, and the garden enclosed in a treillage
p. 50) on other paintings of this subject by Murillo:
“The number of attendant angels varies from
one to thirty. They bear the palm, the olive, the rose, the lily, the
sometimes a sceptre and crown ...
exists, somewhere, a picture of the Conception, by Le Brun, in
which the Virgin has no other drapery than a
thin transparent gauze, and has the air of a Venus Meretrix”.
In the Immaculate Conception the Virgin shares both verbally and visually the attributes of the Goddesses.
dogma itself is suggestive of the Egyptian
belief that the primordial goddesses “proceeded from themselves”. As
Maspero states: “the epithets applied to them
... represent them as having independent creative power by virtue of
own unaided force and energy”. (Dawn of Civil. p. 144).
a particularly close correspondence between
the Virgin Mary and the ancient goddess Neith of Sais, described as “the
prototype of parthenogenesis”. Thus the
Marquis de Mirville states: “We Catholics understand also how it is that
the famous inscription at Sais should have
stated that ‘none ever lifted my veil [peplum]’, considering that this
sentence, literally translated, is the
summary of what is sung in the Church on the day of the Immaculate
(cited by Helena Blavatsky Secret Doctrine, Vol. 11. p. 108). On this dogma Mme, Blavatsky
herself writes (Isis Unveiled,
Vol. II. p. 110): “even this new dogma, which
... has quasi-revolutionized the Christian
world, is not original with the Church of Rome. It is but a return to a
heresy of the early Christian ages, that of
the Collyridians, so called from their sacrificing
cakes to the Virgin, whom they claimed to be Virgin-born. See King’s
‘Gnostics’, pp. 91, 92; ‘The Genealogy of the Blessed Virgin Mary’, by Faustus, Bishop of Riez”.
the iconography of the Immaculate Conception there is to be seen, from
the Virgin’s emblems, an intimate
association with the Goddesses. The stars
appear on the body of the Egyptian Skygoddess Nut. The solar effulgence
from the body of the Japanese Sun-goddess,
Ama-Terasu, who is described thus in the Nihongi
(I. ii): “The resplendent lustre of this
child shone throughout all the six quarters (North, South, East, West,
Below)”. The moon is a characteristic
attribute of the Goddess; and in the form of the downwardpointing
the inverted horns, it is a symbol of
Sefekh-Seshat, Egyptian Goddess of History and Literature.
emblems of the Virgin, the rose is an
attribute of Isis (Apuleius), Aphrodite (Seyffert) and Venus (Waite);
the palm, of Isis
(Apuleius); the lily, of Hera and Juno
(Lempriere); the olive, of Athena and Minerva (passim); and the cypress,
of the Graeco-Roman
Fates and Furies (Lehner). The crown and the
sceptre are shown with Hera (Seyffert) and Juno Lempriere); and the
Isis (Apuleius) and, as in Rossetti’s
painting, with Lilith. The girdle or cestus belongs to Aphrodite (Homer)
(Martial). The fountain is presided over by
Naiad Nymphs (Lempriere); the “garden enclosed” represents the
Ecclesia (the usual interpretation of the Song of Solomon); and the ideogram for “mansion,
temple” (Gardiner) forms part of the hieroglyphs of Hathor and Nephthys.
THE WOMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE. See under the Virgin Mary.
Mexican: THE MAYAN MOTHER. (Kay Turner, in Lady-Unique,
I. p. 50) “in the image of the Blessed Mother Mary, the inhabitants and
visitors of Isla de Mujeres do enjoy some of
the benefits of living in the embrace of the ancient Mayan Mother. The patrona (female patron saint) of the island is Purissima
Concepcion (Immaculate Conception).
Her feast day is December 8, a great day on which the statue of the
Virgin is taken
from the church and sailed out to sea. She
rides at the prow of the largest island ferry and everyone in town jumps
to go out with her. A legion of small boats
follows behind as she journeys around the island blessing the waters,
of which she owns. A silver crescent moon is
pinned on her white gown and every island Catholic (and a few non
will kiss the hem of that garment sometime
before the day’s end. After the sea journey, a parade moves through the
with the Virgin leading. She is raised on the
shoulders of men from the church. A chorus of women sings a continuous
song-chant, Ave, Ave, Ave Maria, Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.
All afternoon the sense of enchantment
grows, until the setting sun reminds people
of home. The feast is finished and Mary the Moon Goddess is restored to
in the church wall”.
Hari no Kuyo. (Chamberlain, Things Japanese,
p. 161) “Festivals ... Dec.
8. - The Hari no Kuyo, a festival at which
women rest from the constant use of the needle by entertaining the other
of the household, they, and not the men,
Mexican: TONANTZIN; THE VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE. (Kay . Turner, in Lady-Unique,
I. p. 47) on the Goddesses of Mexico: “When
the Spanish came ... their (i.e. the old goddesses) power was
maintained in the image of a new goddess, the
virgin of Guadalupe, Mary. She appeared to ... Juan Diego on his way to
Franciscan Church at Tlaltelco on December 9,
1531. Her visitation took place on Tepeyak Hill, which, until the
had been the most highly revered shrine of
Tonantzin, Mexican goddess of earth and corn, one of the Ix Chel’s
sisters. A church was built on the site of
the apparition. According to Juan Diego, the Virgin said she loved the
much and wanted to protect them. ‘For I am
the mother of all of you who dwell in this land’. The Virgin of
became the patron saint of all Mexico in
1737, the Queen of Mexico in 1895, and Empress of the Americas in 1945.
To this day,
her feast is the most highly and widely
celebrated in all Mexico. Driving from Veracruz to Mexico City on
December 9, 1974,
we saw hundreds of pilgrims crowding the main
roads into the city, pressing shoulder to shoulder, smiling, getting
step by step, to the one whose
heart is open to them”.
Trigger, p. 67) on the Lady of Guadeloupe: “many archaeologists regard Her as an old Aztec sky-goddess; in slight
French: THE GODDESS OF LIBERTY; LUX
MUNDI, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. (Brewer, Dict.)
“Liberty. The Goddess
of Liberty. On December 10th, 1793, Mlle.
Malliard, an actress, was selected to personify the ‘Goddess of
Being brought to Notre Dame she was seated on
the altar, and lighted a large candle to signify that Liberty was the
of the world’ (See Louis Blanc: History, ii 365-367)”. See also under
August 10th and November 10th.
ST. LUCY. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “December 13. S. Lucy, Virgin (Church of England
Cal.) “December 13. Lucy, Virgin …”
“Lucy (St.) Patron saint for those afflicted in the eyes”.
Japanese: Koto-hajime. (Chamberlain, Things Japanese, p. 158) “Festivals. The holidays observed officially are ... Dec.
13. This day is called Kolo-hajime,
that is, ‘the beginning of things,’
because such preparations for New Year as
housecleaning, decorating, and the pounding of rice for cakes (mochi) are then taken in hand ... Presents of money are made to servants by their masters at this time of
Graeco-Roman: DEMETER, CERES. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “December 13. Demeter, Ceres, Aspect of the World Mother”.
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 13th. Demeter and Ceres as World Mothers. The
Mothers who nurture the seeds in darkness”.
THE EUMENIDES, THE MOERAE, THE
PARCAE, THE FATES. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 13th …The Fates,
The Benevolent Ones, The Eumenides”.
Roman: BRUMA, Winter. (Ausonius, Ecl. xiv. 5) “For thrice six days and
one the new-come winter (bruma) prolongs feasts and cheer ere she summon lingering Janus.”
Greek: ALCYONE; Halcyon Days begin. (Graves, White Goddess, p. 187) “the
halcyon, or kingfisher ... like the wren is associated in Greek myth
the winter solstice. There were fourteen
‘halcyon days’ in every year, seven of which fell before the winter
seven after: peaceful days when the sea was
smooth as a pond and the hen-halcyon built a floating nest: and hatched
“Homer connects the halcyon with Alcyone, a title of Meleager’s wife Cleopatra (Iliad, IX, 562) and with an earlier Alcyone, who was daughter to Aegeale, ‘she who wards off the hurricane’.”
VII) “The halcyons shall calm the ocean’s
waves”. Commentary by Holden: “These birds
were supposed to demand a calm from nature for their nesting at the
time of the winter solstice”. (Varro, Ling. Lat. VII. 88) on the kingfisher:
“this bird is now called in Greek the halcyon and by our fellow-countrymen the
alcedo ‘kingfisher’; because it is said to hatch its young in winter,
at a time when the sea is calm, they call these days the Halcyonia”. Note: Kent,
in his commentary on this passage, dates the halcyon days at “two weeks before the winter solstice”.
(Ritual of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) from the Winter Solstice ceremony:
“Presider. Behold the halcyon bird sits many-coloured upon her floating
nest. For fourteen days the seas run calm and she: hatches her egg”.
FORTUNA REDUX, Goddess of “happy journeys and prosperous returns”.
See under October 12th.
Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY; Octave of the Immaculate
Roman: SAPIENTIA, Wisdom. (Church of England Cal.) “December 16. O Sapientia”.
(White, Dict.) “sapienta, fem … Personified: Sapientia or Wisdom.
Afran. ap. Gell. 13,8.” Sapientia is also
the Roman counterpart of the Hebrew-Greek
Sophia. As Sapientia-Sophia she is depicted in a mediaeval manuscript
The Great Mother, Pl. 174).
Roman: OPS; The Saturnalia, in honour of Saturn and Ops, First Day. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Ops (abundance, plenty). The old Italian goddess of
fertility, wife of Saturn with whom she shared the temple on the Capitol and the festival of the Saturnalia”. (id.) “Saturnus ... the Saturnalia took place on
December 17, and consisted of offerings in the open air in front of the
also an outdoor banquet ... The festival was
also celebrated in private society; schools had holidays, law-courts
all work was stopped, war was deferred, and
no punishment of criminals took place for seven days from December 17 to
this time there were all kinds of fantastic
amusements. The festival was symbolical of a return to the golden age.
gave presents to one another, in particular
wax tapers (cerei) and dolls (sigillaria). They also
entertained one another, and amused themselves with social games. Every
given to slaves, and they were first
entertained at the banquet and served by their masters, in remembrance
the rule of Saturnus there had been no
differences in social ranks”. Note: see below (Silvius).
“Saturnalia ... celebrated the 16th or the 17th, or according to
the 18th of December ... The Saturnalia were
originally celebrated only for one day, but afterwards the solemnity
for 3, 4, 5, and at the last for 7 days ...
the priests made their offerings with their heads uncovered, a custom
never observed at other festivals”.
(Borlase, Dolmens, Vol. iii.
9. 828) “It was a priestess who conducted the rites of the Saturnalia at Rome”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “December 17. Ludi. Saturnalis.” (Silvius, Kal. anno 448)
“December 17. Feriae Servorum.”
(Perp. Fest. Cal.) “December 17. Saturnalia (to 21st) in memory of the
Golden Age”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.)
“December 17th-21st: The Saturnalia.
Atavism. Return to childhood jollity.
Relaxation. Conviviality. Release of energy. Respect and love for the
Roman: OPS; The Saturnalia, Second
Roman: OPS; The Opalia; The Saturnalia,
Third Day. (Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 22) on the Saturnalia; “on the second
day thereafter [is] the Opalia, the festival of Ops”. Note by Kent: “December 19”.
Ecl. xxiii. 15) “On the Roman Festivals
(2nd half of 4th cent.) …Or would you have me speak first of the feast of Ops ...?
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 19th; Ops. Wealth. Good Fortune. Success.
Roman: OPS; The Saturnalia, Fourth Day.
Roman: ANGERONA, DIVA; The Angeronalia, The Divalia. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Angerona, Diva, a Roman goddess, worshipped on 21 Dec. (Divalia or Angeronalia), in the Curia
Acculeia ... or the sacellum Volupiae,
where there stood on the altar a statue of
Angerona (Macrob. Sat. 1. 10. 8) ... Mommsen
[connects her name] with angerere, ‘to raise up’, sc. the sun :after
the solstice, on the basis of the Fasti Praenestini (see Latte. RR 134)”.
(Varro, Ling. Lat.
VI. 23) “The Angeronalia
[is named] from Angerona to whom an offering
is made in the Acculeian Curia and of whom this day is a state
Angerona, according to Kent’s commentary, is
connected with Silence.
The Saturnalia, Fifth Day.
Celtic. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December
21st: Druidic Celebration of the Winter Solstice. Festival of Stars. Mysticism. The Unknown”.
Winter Solstice. Sun enters Capricorn (tropical).
Egyptian: ISIS. (Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride,
372 c) “at
the time of the winter solstice they lead the
cow seven times round the temple of Helios and this perambulation is
the seeking for Osiris”.
(Esther Harding, Woman’s Myst.
188) “At the Winter Solstice, the goddess in
the form of a golden cow, covered by a black veil, was carried round the
shrine of the dead Osiris seven times,
representing the wanderings of Isis who journeyed over the world
mourning for his death
and searching for the scattered parts of his
Greek: DEMETER. (Brewer, Dict.) “Yuletide The Greeks
celebrated in the winter solstice the birth of Demeter (Ceres)”.
(Neumann, The Great Mother,
p. 312) “The birth of the divine child, whether
he bears the name of Horus, Osiris, Helios,
Dionysus or Aeon, was celebrated in the Koreion in Alexandria, in the
to Kore, on the day of the winter solstice”.
Roman: OPS; The Saturnalia. Sixth Day.
Celtic: Alban Arthuan. See under March 21st.
Celtic: Welsh. RHIANNON. (Graves, White Goddess,
p. 95) on Pryderi, son of Rhiannon: “This
‘son of a virgin mother’ is always born on the Winter Solstice.”
Norse-Celtic: SUL, THE SUN. (Ritual of Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) from the
Ceremony for “The Evening
of the Winter Solstice”:
“Scribe: Sul, the mate and mother
of Og, is in a ship in the sky awaiting him”.
See also under December 25th.
General: (Whistler, English Fest.,
p. 26) “At Midwinter, when
the hours of daylight were fewest, our
ancestors, the archaic peoples of Europe and Western Asia, kept festival
bonfires and decorating their buildings with
THE WITCHES; Lesser
Sabbat. See under March 21st.
Roman: ACCA LARENTIA, LAURENTINA; The Lares. The Laurentalia, The Parentalia. (Lempriere, Dict.)
“Laurentalia, certain festivals celebrated at
Rome, on the last day of April and the 23rd of December”. (Seyffert, Dict.)
“Acca Larentia ... at the feast of Larentalia (Dec. 23), the flamen of
and the pontiffs made offering to her ... her
name [also] meaning ‘mother of the Lares’, shows that she was
a goddess of the earth, to whom men entrusted
their seed-corn and their dead”.
(Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 23) “The
Larentine Festival (note by Kent: ‘On December 23’), which certain
writers call the Larentalia, was named from
Acca Larentia, to whom our priests officially perform ancestor-worship
sixth day after the Saturnalia, which day is
from her called the Day of the Parentalia of Larentine Acca.
offering is made in the Velabrium, where it
ends in New Street ... because near there the priests make offering to
spirits of the slaves”.
111. 57) “Nor would I
pass by thee in silence. Larentia, nurse of
so great a nation ... Your honour will find its place when I come to
tell of the
Larentalia; that festival falls in December,
the month dear to the mirthful spirits (genii)”.
(Fell. of Isis Dir.)
“December 23rd: Larentalia. Acca Larentia, mother
of the Lares. Respect for household deities,
and each household object. Hallowing of the home”. See also under
LARUNDA, LARA. (Rose, O.C.D.)
an extremely obscure Roman goddess said to be
Sabine (Varro, V. 74 ... ), and generally supposed to be chthonian
234). She was honoured ... on Dec. 23 at an altar in the Velabrium. The
of the first syllable (known from Ausonius
...) suggests a possible connection with Acca Larentia. The ancients
with Lara, said by Ovid (Fasti 2.599 ff.) to be mother of the Lares”. See also
under Acca Larentia.
Roman: OPS; The Saturnalia;
Day between the Old and New Year. The ancient Celtic year is variously described as beginning on Brighid’s day
(Feb. 1), the Spring Equinox, the Autumnal Equinox, Samhain (Nov. 1) and the Winter Solstice.
(O’Connor, Chr. of Eri,
vol. I.i) The 13 months of the Phoenician-Scythian-Gaelic year are
in a circle: “The Ring of Baal: 1 Tionnscnad
(about March). 2 Blat. 3 Bael tetgne. 4 Sgit. 5 Tarsgit. 6 Meas. 7
8 Tirim. 9 Fluicim. 10. Geimia. 11 Sneacda.
12 Siocan. 13 Deirionnae.”
Celtic Review, Brigantia, 1981, p. 3)
“Ogham Calendar is based upon the Coligny Tablet which was a Gaulish and
Celtic bronze tablet, found in France in
1895, and dating to about 2000 years ago. Calendar started on the last
first after Autumn equinox. This version
starts the New Year on 31st October. Both this festival and Midwinter
have been used to start lunar calendars in
pre-Roman Europe and the Greek/Celtic orientated British Isles. (G.S.O.
B 27: Ogham Calendar)”.
Goddess, p. 207) The Tree alphabet and the 13 months are shown to correspond as follows: Beth, Birch, begins Dec. 24. Luis, Quick-beam (Rowan), Jan. 21. Nion, Ash, Feb. 18. Fearn, Alder, March 18. Saille, Willow, Apr. 15. Uath, Hawthorn, May 13. Duir, Oak, June 10. Tinne, Holly, July 8. Coll, Hazel, Aug. 5. Muin, Vine, Sept. 2. Gort, Ivy, Sept. 30. Ngetal, Reed, Oct. 28. Ruis, Elder, Nov. 25. Dec. 23 intercalary. (Ledwich, Antiq.
p. 328) in this Tree alphabet “Peth-boc” is in the place of “Ngetal”. (O’Brien, Round Towers, p. 418) The alphabet cited by this author has the following differences: “2 Luis, Wild Ash ... 4 Suil, Willow. 5 Fearn, Alder ... 8
Tinne, Furze ... 11 Peth-bhog, (B mollified).”
(New Celtic Rev.,
Brigantia 1981, p. 3) “Lunar Solar Calendar 1981:
Nana (begins Dec. 22). Brigit. Anna. Rhea.
Ishtar. Olwyn. Isis. Demeter. Lamia. Circe. Kali. Hecate (last 2
Roman: The Juvenalia. (White,
Dict.) “Juvenalis Dies, A day for the young; the name given by Caligula to the
day which he added to the festival of the Saturnalia”.
(Perp. Fest. Cal.)
“December 24 ... The Juvenilia.” (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December
24th: The Juvenalia. For all young creatures. Merry-making”.
Celtic: Oidhche Nodlag, Nodlaig Eve. See under December 25th.
Anglo-Saxon: THE MOTHERS; Modraniht, Night of the Mothers. (Hislop,
The Two Babylons, p. 93) “as the 25th
of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, ‘Yuleday’, or the ‘Child’s day’,
and the night that preceded it, ‘Mother-Night’ (Sharon Turner’s Anglo-Saxons,
Vol. i, p. 219) long before they came in
contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character”.
(Hilda Davidson, Gods, Myths, N. Europe,
p. 112) “Inscriptions are known
from Roman times in Germany, Holland and
Britain in honour of groups of female beings known generally as ‘the
... Female deities of this kind seem to have
been worshipped by both the Celts and the Germans, and they were
with fertility and with the protection of
hearth and home. In some form they were known to the Anglo-Saxons, for
them in De Temporum Ratione (13), where he tells us that the night before Christmas
was known in heathen times as Modraniht, ‘the night of the mothers’. There
seems little doubt that they were closely connected with the birth of children”.
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 24 Modraniht, ‘The Night of the Mothers’.”
Scottish: Yule-Even. See under December 25th.
Babylonian: THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN. (Hislop,
The Two Babylons,
p. 93) on the festivals held on December 25th. “Long before
the fourth century, and long before the
Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at
time of the year, in honour of the birth of
the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven ... The same festival was
the Roman Church ... This tendency on the
part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed.”
Semitic (General): THE HEAVENLY VIRGIN, THE
HEAVENLY GODDESS; ASTARTE. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p.
358) “No doubt
the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son
on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess whom the
called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the
Heavenly Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte”.
Egyptian: ISIS, NUT. (Eisler, Royal Art of Astrol. p. 270) “the goddess Isis, the Virgo Caelestis, the Egyptian sky-goddess Nut [was] believed to give birth to the Sun on the 25th of December”.
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 25th: Isis and her son Horus ... Festival of children and young animals
and birds and other creatures”.
Persian: SPENTA ARMAITI. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd.
p. 358) “Mithra ...
his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of
December”. For Spenta Armaiti as the mother of Mithra see Days of the
Cyprian: MYRRHA. (Hislop,
The Two Babylons, p. 97) “The mother of Adonis ... was
to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son (Ovid, Metam. lib. x. v. 500-513) … And this entirely accounts for the putting of the Yule Log into the fire
on Christmas-Eve ... As Zero-Ashta, ‘the seed of the woman’, which name also signifies Ignigena, or ‘born of the fire’, he has to enter the fire on ‘Mother-night’, that he
may be born the next day out of it”.
Roman: HIEMS, Winter, The Goddess of Winter. (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “December
25 Solstitium et initium hiberni”.
(White, Dict.) “hibernus … [akin to hiems] … Of, or belonging to winter …” (id.) “hiems, fem … The winter … Personified: Hiems or Winter.”
(Ovid. Metam. II.
30) The Poet describes the Deities of Time ranged around the Sun: “On
either hand were the Days, Months, Years, and
Ages, and the Hours plac’d at equal Distances: Here stood the Spring
here the Summer ... Autumn too and icy Winter
(Hyems), rough with hoary Hair.”
OPS. Several of the ceremonies of the Saturnalia (see under December 17th) are continued at the present time
during Yuletide. On the decoration of houses and churches Brewer writes (Dict.
251): “The great feast of Saturn was held in.
December, when the people decorated the temples with such green things
as they could find”. (id. p.
614) “Holly used to be employed by the early
Christians at Rome to decorate churches and
dwellings at Christmas: it had been previously used in the great
festival of the
Saturnalia, which occurred at: the same
season of the year. The pagan Romans used to send[ to their friends
during the Saturnalia, with; wishes for their
health and well-being”.
Similarly the Army custom, by which
the officers wait on the men, continues a practice
characteristic of the Saturnalia. For the wearing of fantastic head-dresses
and other customs of the Saturnalia see under Yule.
Celtic: Nodlaig, An Nodlaig, La Nodlag, Nodlaig Day. (O’Reilly, Dict.)
“Nodlag, Nollag. [December 25th], Welsh, nadolig”.
Towers, p. 350) on the Saturnalia, as celebrated by the ancient Irish: “The
very letters of the epithet ... show the spirituality of purpose which actuated their zeal. Nullog
was that epithet - it is compounded of nua, new; and log (for bullog), a belly, meaning regeneration, or the putting aside of the old leaven
of sin, and the assumption of the new investiture of rightousness, by justification.
in their religious procedure was transacted
by symbols, so, in this instance, they did not content themselves with
the inner consciousness of a new birth - This is the
exact rendering of the name by which they called it: viz. nua vreith, or the being born anew by the operation of grace but they must go through the outer form of it by typification;
and for this end it was that they excavated those apertures in the bodies of rocks,
which I have noticed in page 314 (i.e. called Cunni) as calling forth ... the animadversion
of . . yonies, in order that, by passing
through them, they might represent the
condition of one issuing, through the womb, to a new scope of life.
“[Another] method of symbolisation, and confined solely to the initiated,
was that which characterised the construction
of their subterranean temples. Here the sublimity of their worship
in all the grandeur of majesty and awe. The
narrowness of the entrance, never larger than the girth of the ordinary
body, portrayed, as well the circular passage in their regenerating type. ‘Enter ye in at the strait gate … because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth
unto life …’ Matthew vii. 13,14 ...
“The ... temple,
at New Grange, is exactly so constructed. After squeezing yourself, with much labour, through a long emblematic gallery, you arrive at a circular room …”
For the symbolically similar custom, the passing
through the “Girdle of Brighid”, see under February 1st: St. Brighid.
(Brewer, Dict.) “Yule ... Druids held during the winter solstice the festival of Nolagh. (Higgins)”.
(The Druids Cal.) “December 25 ... From earliest days this time of year
has been one of
... The Hebrews gave gifts at Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights. In Northern
Yuletide served a similar purpose. The use of
fir trees, holly, ivy, and bay all go back to druidic practices”.
Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p.
358) on the date of the birth of Jesus: “at the end of the third
or the beginning of the fourth century the
Western Church ... adopted the twenty-fifth of December as the true date
time its decision was accepted also by the
(Discourse by Demetrius of Antioch,
p. 653) “At dawn on the 29th of Khoiak (i.e.
December 25, according to the fixed
Alexandrian calendar), Mary asked Joseph to seek a woman to help her. He
found one on
the roof of her house, and asked if she knew a
midwife. She said: ‘Thou art Joseph the husband of Mary’, and came
down, and put on her finest apparel. Before
they reached the caravanserai the child was born. The woman’s name was
Anglo-Saxon, Norse, etc. Yule. (Dr.
Johnson’s Dict.) “Yule [ jul,
Su. Goth. jule, Dan. jol, Icel. gehul, goela, Saxon. Dr. Jamieson agrees with Mr. Pinkerton in tracing it to one of the three great religious
festivals in the year, which the ancient Goths observed; namely Yule, or Jul, celebrated at the time of the winter-solstice, in honour of the sun. See Dr. Jamieson, in V. YULE. Hammond
refers it to the Lat. jubilum. The Welsh wyl,
or gwyl, it may be added, is a holyday; and the Cimbr. ol signifies a feast.] A word
adopted, and formerly much in use, for the times of Christmas and Lammas.
“ ‘This is the original
yule - the other the yule of August determinately’.
Hammond, Works, i. 660.
“ ‘Masks, singing dancing, yule-games’. Burton, Anat. of Mel. p. 270.
‘The misletoe ceremonial of the yule festival continued from the time of the
Druids,’ Stukeley, Palaegr, Sacr. p. 10” ...
(Enc. Brit. 1810 ed.) “Jul or
Jol, a Gothic word signifying a ‘sumptuous treat’; and particularly
applied to a religious festival first among
the heathens ... the month of Januarius by the Saxons was styled Giuli, i.e. ‘the Festival’ ...
“We are indebted to Procopius for the first account
of this feast”.
(Brewer, Dict. 12th
ed.) “Yule The word
means ‘The festival of the Sun’, kept at the
winter solstice, when the new year sun was ushered in ... (Saxon,
gehul, ‘the Sun-feast’; Danish, juul;
Swedish oel, with the article ‘j’; Breton, heol,
the sun; Welsh, häl) …”
“Yule. [Old Eng. geól, geóla … Teut. jeul-, jehul … cf. Old Norse jól,
pl. a heathen feast
lasting twelve days; ult. origin obscure …]
1. December or January - Mid. Eng. Yule-Even (Scottish) …”
(Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft,
p. 359) “The word Yule, according
to Bede and various other authorities of the
olden time, is derived from an old Norse word Iul, meaning a wheel. In
Clog Almanacs, the symbol of a wheel was used
to mark Yuletide. The idea behind this is that the year turns like a
the Great Wheel of the Zodiac, the Wheel of
Life, of which the spokes are the old ritual occasions, the equinoxes
and the four ‘cross-quarter-days’ of
Candlemas, May Eve, Lammas and Halloween. The winter solstice, the
of the sun, is a particularly important
“Hence modern witches celebrate Christmas with
a will; only they recognise it as Yule, one of the great Nature festivals of old ...
Yuletide decorations were holly, ivy,
mistletoe, the sweet-smelling bay and rosemary, green branches of the
(Old Moore’s Almanac,
1980, p. 71) “Christmas Tree. The first
authentic use of it is noted in an old book
of Hesse, Germany, in 1608, and its popularity is, indeed, due to the
although ancient chronicles say it is a
revival of pagan days”.
Fest. p. 28) on the Yuletide tree: “in
Germany [it] may be no less ancient than the mistletoe bough in
We might see in it a custom of the Saturnalia
introduced by the Roman legions, the pine tree hung with little masks
‘Oscilla ex alta suspendent mollia pinu’ (‘waving amulets from the
tall pine’). Virgil Georgics, II, 389”. Note: (Hooke, Bab. and Assyr. Rel. p. 33)
“the cedar in its bravery is the symbol which the goddess (i.e. Ishtar)
repeatedly to express her own attractiveness
as she prepares to meet her risen husband. The sacred pole as the symbol
or Astarte, or any other form of the mother
goddess, is everywhere to be found in the ancient near East”. See also
The Goddess of Nature.
(Whistler, English Fest.
p. 58) on the Yule log:
“The log will be chosen and cut beforehand;
ash that burns green, and was therefore sacred to the sun ... ash that
believed in Scandinavia to be the wood of the
world-tree, Yggdrasil, with its roots knotted in Hell and its boughs
Heaven. The log was large, and must now, of
necessity, be small. Perhaps the ‘ashen faggot’ of Devon is more suited
to survival. In that county a bundle of ash
sticks were bound together with nine ash-bands on Christmas Eve, and
on the Day with much rejoicing (Or perhaps
more frequently on the Eve itself …) No less ceremony attended the
in of the log in other parts of the island.
Sometimes it would be sprinkled with corn, and sometimes it would be
with a girl enthroned upon it (note: see
below) ... In any event, a new fire would be made, and the log kindled
with the last
fragments of the previous log, kept
throughout the year for this purpose - a rule that was no pretty fancy,
but a profound
recognition of continuity. By the time dinner
was brought in the symbolic brand would be ablaze”.
p. 44) “The Kissing Bough or the Kissing Bunch ... hung from the
ceiling in a
luminous crown: a hemisphere of evergreens
marked with a ring of candles above, and with a ring of bright red
curiously hinting at fulfilment in the hour
of promise. And all this was but the frame to a bunch of mistletoe,
a little below the centre ...
“So well liked was the Kissing Bough that it has never been entirely replaced
by the tree …
“On Christmas Eve those
candles were lit in ceremony, and the Kissing Bough became
the visible centre of the festival, lit again
on the Day, and every evening thereafter till the Twelve Days were out.
from the middle of the ceiling, just high
enough from the ground for a couple to stand or stoop and kiss beneath
visitor to the house soon found his way to
that point ... It was indeed the crown and centre of Christmas”.
p. 47) on the “Crown” and “Globe” types of Kissing
Bough: “The two kinds of Bough ... [form] a
model of the solar system, intended to represent the stations of the sun
about the earth in some pre-Copernican
cosmography. Nor is the notion so farfetched as its sounds. On the
evening of the sun’s
rebirth it is likely that the glowing apples
signified nothing else”.
Among other Yule customs are the following:
(Whistler, English Fest. p. 35) “Santa Claus ... had been, so to speak, one
aspect of Woden that escaped canonisation”. Some also see in him a representation of Saturn.
(id. p. 59) on the Yule
feasting: “Master and servant sat down in the great hall to banquet
genuine though brief equality. The Romans at
the Saturnalia had done the same, and the Scandinavians at Yule ... it
in this country among others, to give extra
food to the cattle and dogs ... and to fix a sheaf or corn to the roof,
of course it attracted a crowd of delighted
“There will be a cake a cake once again geologically
sound, with one stratum of icing, and one of marzipan, the whole superimposed on alluvial darkness”.
Coll. Works: Gryll Grange, p. 901) “The vast globe of plum-pudding, the true
image of the earth, flattened at the poles”.
(Whistler, English Fest.
p. 62) on other Yule festivities: “There will
be red paper crackers by each plate. There will be arms crossed,
a circle to pull them; and there will be in
reward the tin whistle and the flimsy cap of bright-coloured paper,
helmet or bonnet or bird. Even so did the
Roman Briton put on a fantastic headpiece for the Saturnalia, and the
have not forgotten; before the days of paper
caps in crackers - and they are recent - the Lord of Misrule was
and coxcombs. Evergreen garlands were also
very much in use ... (T. G. Crippen, Christmas
and Christmas Lore, 1923, p. 101)”.
THE GIRL OF THE YULE LOG.
(Whistler, English Fest. p. 59) on the yule log: “Sometimes it would be dragged
in with a girl enthroned upon it, and then there would be glasses raised to her health”.
THE NORNS: URTH, VERDANDI and SKULD. The Yule Log is traditionally of ash, the wood of the tree Yggdrasil (see
above). Underneath this tree sit the Norns.
or Norns ... They spin the events of human
life sitting under the ash-tree Yggdrasil”. (Ernst and Johanna Lehner, Folklore Symb. of Flowers, Plants, Trees, p. 21) “The second stem of the Yggdrasil
springs up in Muspellsheim, the warm South where the three Norns: Urth, the Past, Verdandi, the Present and Skuld, the Future dwell”.
(Prose Edda, sel.
“It is said further that the Norns who live
near the spring of Urd draw water from the spring every day, and along
it the clay that lies round about the spring,
and they besprinkle the ash so that its branches shall not wither or
In the ritual of the Yule Log, (see above) several
indirect allusions to the Norns are noticeable. Nine, or “thrice
three”, ash-bands are used; a girl is
enthroned upon the log; the log is sprinkled with corn and cider, and
green while burning.
SUN, SOL, SUNNE, THE SUN, FRAU SONNE, MISTRESS SUN.
(Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 100) “On
Christmas-Day the Continental Saxons offered ... to the Sun, (Times’
Correspondent, December 23, 1853) to
propitiate her for the loss of her beloved Adonis. The reader will
remember the Sun was
a goddess”. See also under Moveable
Festivals: Easter, and Days of the Week: Sunday.
Swedish: THE LUCIA QUEEN. (The Irish
Times, Dec. 1975) “A Swedish ‘Lucia’
(Queen of Light), Miss Kirstin Book, photographed after she
had switched on the lights of a Christmas
Tree in O’Connell Street, Dublin. The tree is a present from the city of
Sweden, to the people of Dublin.” See also
THE STAR FAIRY;
THE GODDESS OF NATURE. (Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft,
p. 323) on the
Yuletide tree: “With its bright, baubles and
the star on the top, [it] is a miniature version of World Tree of our
ancestors, with its roots deep in earth, the
sun, moon and stars hung on its spreading branches, and the Pole Star on
topmost point. Sometimes the star is replaced
by a fairy doll, who represents the goddess of Nature ruling over the
(The Coming Age, No. 13) on the Yule tree: “The fir tree, with
its ruler the: Star Fairy, stand always in the heart of the home”.
(Brewer, Dict.) “Yuletide has been held as a sacred festival by numberless nations
... India, Numerous Indian tribes keep Yuletide as a religious festival (Monier Williams)”.
French: DAME ABONDE. See under
General and Greek: THE
GENIAE; ALETHEA, ATHENE, HEBE, HESTIA and MOIRA; THE GENIAE OF THE SEVEN SPHERES. The Geniad. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Astraea 28 (December 25). Day of All Geniae. Geniad”.
(The Coming Age,
No. 13) “Geniad.
This is the Day of All Geniae, when we
remember and pay honour to the pure and perfect children of Heaven,
those who are not
separated from our Mother. Alethea, Genia of
Truth, Athene of Wisdom, Hebe of childhood, Hestia of the Home, Moira of
fate, the Geniae of the seven celestial spheres”.
First of the Twelve Days
of Yule. (Brewer, Dict.
p. 251) “We are told that the ancient Egyptians,
at the Winter Solstice, used a palm branch
containing twelve leaves or shoots to symbolise the ‘completion of year’
”. (O.E.D.) “Yule … a heathen feast lasting twelve days; ult. origin
obscure”. See also under January 6th.
(Whistler, English Fest.
65) “December 26th ... So passed the first of
the Twelve Days ... With the plough under thatch and the shutters up in
the workshop window, while the gentry
entertained the farmers, and the farmers entertained their men. In
Cumberland, during this period, the farmers
would be meeting night after night in a different house, every man host
turn, to sing and play, drink punch and eat
good food; and should there come a knock at the door, the stranger,
on the fells and drawn to the promising
lights, would find there a northerner’s welcome”.
THE WITCHES. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 561) “Another witching
time is the period of twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany”.
Day. (Whistler, English Fest.
p. 65) “Boxing Day, December 26th ... Some
hold that [the name] alludes to the church
alms-box which used to be opened on Boxing Day and the contents given to
others, with greater likelihood, to the
earthenware box that the young apprentice brought to the door of each of
The Beginning of the Pantomime season. (Whistler,
p. 66) “Until quite recently Boxing Day was notable in the theatre
as the beginning of the Pantomime season …
the ancient mythology of Harlequin and Columbine, Clown and Pantaloon
itself to a modern audience ... Topical songs
and other extraneous ‘turns’ crept in, while the advance in Victorian
stagecraft made possible, and then
indispensable, the breathtaking climax of the transformation scene”.
Italian: COLUMBINE. Columbine figures in the Italian
Pantomime or Harlequinade of the Commedia del Arte.
These performances, enacted in
mime by travelling companies, presented
ancient symbolic figures. Columbine, traditionally dressed in white,
with black pompoms,
is believed to be lunar. (Brewer, Dict.)
“Columbine. The sweetheart of Harlequin,
and, like him, supposed to be invisible to
mortal eyes. Columbina in Italian is a pet-name for a lady-love, and
means a little
dove, a young coquette”.
Graeco-Roman, etc.: ANDROMEDA; ARIADNE; CERES; THE NYMPHS. (Burckhardt, Civil. of Renaissance, p.
214) on Renaissance drama: “The plays acted
were mysteries on some ecclesiastical subject; the pantomimes, on the
were mythological. There were represented,
Orpheus with the beasts, Perseus and Andromeda, Ceres drawn by dragons,
and Ariadne by panthers, and finally the
education of Achilles. Then followed a ballet of the famous lovers of
with a troop of Nymphs”.
(Danaher, The Year in Ireland,
p. 257) “Christmas
plays were common in medieval towns. For
instance in Dublin in 1458 a different play was presented on each day of
week, on a stage erected on Hoggen Green,
before the Lord Deputy and the Lord Mayor and bailiffs ... the vintners
the bakers, Ceres, and the blacksmiths,
Egyptian: NITOCRIS, RHODOPIS, Queen of Egypt. (Maspero, Dawn of Civil.
p. 438) on Nitauqrit (Nitokris) “The
Rosy-cheeked Beauty”, builder of the Third or Southern Pyramid: “The
Greeks ... for the name of Nitokris
substituted the more harmonious name of Rhodopis, which was the exact
translation of the
characteristic epithet of the Egyptian queen.
One day while she was bathing in the river, an eagle stole one of her
sandals, carried it off in the direction of
Memphis, and let it drop in the lap of the king, who was administering
in the open air. The king, astonished at the
singular occurrence, caused a search to be made throughout the country
woman to whom it belonged: Rhodopis thus
became queen of Egypt, and could build herself a pyramid. (Strabo, xvii.
this is a form, as has been frequently
remarked, of the story of ‘Cinderella’.” See also under Hours of
the Day: noon.
Greek: ALCYONE. Halycon days end. See under December 15th.
English: JULIAN of Norwich. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “December
29th. Julian of Norwich, mystic, 6. 1343”.
English: JOSEPHINE BUTLER. Protagonist of women’s rights. (Church
of England Cal.) “December 30. Josephine Butler, 1907.”
SOKHIT, SEKHMET, (The Sallier Papyrus IV, cited
by Maspero Dawn of Civil. p. 211) “The 5th of Tybi ... the goddess Sokhit, mistress
of the double white Palace Whatsoever thou seest on this day will be fortunate”.
Graeco-Roman: HECATE. See under January 31st.
Scottish: Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Night. (Brewer,
Dict.) “Hogmannay, Hogmena, or Hagmena. Holy month. New Year’s Eve is
called hogmanny-night or hogg-night,
is still the custom in parts of Scotland for
persons to go from door to door on that night asking in rude rhymes for
or money”. (O.E.D.)
“Hogmarmay [App. of French origin. See New Eng. Dict.]
The name given, in Scotland, etc., to the
last day of the year, also called ‘Cake-day’; the gift of an oatmeal
cake, or the like, expected by children on
that day …”
Two Babylons, p. 95) “To show the
connection between country and country, and the inveterate endurance of
customs, it is worthy of remark, that Jerome
... observes that it ‘was the custom so late as his time (i.e. 348-420),
in all cities especially in Egypt and
Alexandria, to set tables, and, furnish them with luxurious articles of
food, and with
goblets containing a mixture of new wine, on
the last day of the month and year, and that people drew omens from them
of the fruitfulness of the year’. (Hieronym,
vol. ii, p. 217). The Egyptian year began at a different time from ours;
but this is as near as possible (only
substituting whisky for wine), the way in which Hogmanay is still
observed on the last day of the last
month of our year in Scotland
... everybody in the South of Scotland is
personally cognisant of the fact that, on Hogmanay, or the evening
before New Year’s
Day, among those who observe old customs, a
table is spread, and while buns and other dainties are provided by those
afford them oat cakes and cheese are brought
forth among those who never see oat cakes but on this occasion, and that
drink forms an essential article of the
(The Druids Cal.)
“December 31. Hogmanay. Still celebrated in
Scotland and some parts of the north of England by the giving of oatmeal
cakes to children”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “December 31st ... Hogmanay.
The new is reborn from the old in the year’s cycle”.
Norse: THE NORNS. (Hislop, The Two Babylons,
p. 93) “In
Scotland, at least in the Lowlands, the
Yule-cakes are also called Nur-cakes (the u being pronounced as the
Now in Chaldee Nour signifies ‘birth’.
Therefore, Nur-cakes are birthcakes. The Scandinavian goddesses, called
Norris, who appointed children their
destinies at their birth, evidently derived their
name from the cognate Chaldee word ‘Nor’, a child”. (id. p, 95)
on Hogmanay: “the cakes then made are called Nur-Cakes, or Birth-Cakes”.
Anglo-Saxon: (Brewer, Dict.)
A salutation used on New Year’s Eve and New
Year’s Day over the spiced-ale cup, hence the ‘wassail bowl’.
(Anglo-Saxon, Waes hael, be whole, be well)”.
Irish: (Danaher, The Year in Ireland,
p. 259) “Divination of
the future was common on New Year’s Eve,
especially, the forecasting of weather conditions for the whole of the
year ... Indeed, almost anything which
happened on New Year’s Eve and Day might be ominous of the future, and
to the midnight hour when the year actually
began, the more significant”.
DAME ABONDE. (Brewer, Dict.) “Abonde
(Dame). The French Santa Claus, the good fairy who comes at night to bring toys to
children while they sleep, especially on New Year’s Day”.
THE SPIRIT OF THE VAN. (Brewer, Dict.) “The Spirit of the Van.
A sort of fairy which haunts the Van Pools in the mountains of
on New Year’s Eve. She is dressed in white,
girded with a golden girdle; her golden hair is very long, and she sits
in a golden boat, which she urges along with a
golden oar … (Welsh mythology)”.
Spanish-French: The Hados, The Fées.
(Borlase, Dolmens, Vol. II. p. 580) “Along the whole of the Pyrenean
range supernatural power is attributed to the fairies who are called Hados, and in
… On the last day of December, which there seems to have
been substituted for All-Hallow-E’en, each
family awaits with anxiety their arrival, and prepares a feast for them.
The offerings made to them consist of thick
milk and white bread. If they are not propitiated, wolves devour the
hear of them making their abode in the centre
of the mountains, like the Irish sidhe,
whom in all their attributes, and in the veneration paid to them, they so closely resemble”.
Japanese: (Chamberlain: Things Japanese, p. 158) “On the last
night of the old year no one goes to bed, and bells are rung”.
HESTIA and Roman: VESTA. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Hestia 6 (December 31) Day of Hestia,
Hestiad”. (The Coming Age,
No. 3) “Day of Hestia, 6th Hestia - Hestia
is the Genia of the home-fire, and it is
traditional on this day to bless the house by making the Pentacle in the
Of each room. Ivy is hung on the outer doors
to protect the house against evil through the coming year. Hestia is
Genia of the true home-fire that burns deep
within each soul”.
Isis Dir.) “December 31st: Hestia, Vesta. Ever-living flame of the hearth. Life is eternal, and manifests by
rebirth through, the Mothers. Fires and candles re-lighted from past flame. Life renewal”.
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