Ante Diem VII Idus Januarias
Modern Date : January 7th
Ante Diem VII Idus Januarias
Seventh Day to the Ides of January
This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.
On this day in 49 BCE, Julius Caesar was ordered to disband his army. He refused, and crossed the Rubicon three days later.
To the Egyptians this day was celebrated as the birthday of Sekhmet, the goddess of the healing arts. Sekhmet was a goddess of the Memphis triad, sometimes shown as a lion-headed woman. Sekhmet was prayed to by mothers who wished to nurse their children, as in the following incantation: O thou who lives on the water, hasten to the Judge in his divine abode, to Sekhmet who walks behind him, and to Isis, ruler of Dep, saying, "bring her this milk."
On this night in 48 BCE, Antony, Cassius, and Curio fled from Rome to join Caesar at Ariminum.
This month is sacred to Janus, the god of Beginnings. Janus is the porter of heaven and considered the guardian deity of gates and doors. He is often shown as two-headed since doors face both ways.
Feast of Morrigan
The feast of Morrigan honors the Irish triple goddess of death and destruction. Remember, death is only a door through which we all must walk. The Morrigan is a goddess of battle, strife, and fertility. Her name translates as either "Great Queen" or "Phantom Queen," and both epithets are entirely appropriate for her. The Morrigan appears as both a single goddess and a trio of goddesses. The other deities who form the trio are Badb ("Crow"), and either Macha (also connotes "Crow") or Nemain ("Frenzy"). The Morrigan frequently appears in the ornithological guise of a hooded crow. She is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann ("Tribe of the goddess Danu") and she helped defeat the Firbolg at the First Battle of Mag Tuireadh and the Fomorians at the Second Battle of Mag Tuireadh.
The Nana-kusa, Festival of the Seven Grasses, is held in Japan. In early times, the Court and people went out to gather parsley and six other edible herbs. These are traditionally powdered into stew called the nanakusa-gayu, which is eaten as part of the New Year’s rituals. It is a type of rice-gruel or congee flavored with greens.
This day is also Koshogatsu, sacred to the Shinto Goddess Izanami- no-Mikoto. She and her brother-consort, Izanagi-no-Mikoto, were the primordial creators who fashioned the natural world and its kami, or nature spirits. This day is exactly opposite on the year wheel to Tanabata (7/7), the Japanese Feast of the Lovers.
Izanagi no-Mikoto and Izanami no-Mikoto are worshiped through offerings of flowers. The goddess is also worshiped with drums, flutes, flags, singing and dancing. During the Uzue-matsuri, each participant offers a plum branch (peach was formerly used) on which he or she has attached a slip of paper with his or her name and age (or date of birth). After the ceremony, every person retrieves his or her offering for protection throughout the year.
St. Distaff’s Day
St. Distaff’s Day was so called because on the day following Twelfth Night, women returned to their distaffs or daily occupations. It is also called Rock-Day, a distaff being referred to as a rock.
Partly work and partly play
Ye must on St Distaff's day
From the plough soon free the team
Then come home and fodder them
If the Maids a-spinning go
Burn the flax and fire the tow
Bring in pails of water then
Let the Maids bewash the men
Give Saint Distaff all the right
Then bid Christmas sport goodnight
And next morrow, every one
To his own vocation.
- Herrick, Hesperides 1648
In Bulgaria, boys duck the girls in the icy waters of rivers and lakes, an ancient custom which is said to bring them good health in the coming year. Like the customs described above on Epiphany, it seems to promise a fresh new beginning.
Fire-Saving Day (Eldbjorgdagen)
In Norway, eldbjorgdagen means fire-saving day but a Saint Eldberga was later invented to explain the holiday. A report from Seljord in 1786, tells that the mistress of the house celebrated the return of the sun by drinking a draught of ale before the hearth, throwing something into the fire and then saying: "So high be my fire that hell is no higher or hotter." Then the rest of the household sat around the hearth, with their hands behind their back, and drank ale from bowls which were drained then tossed behind them with a toss of the head. If a bowl landed face down, the drinker would die within the next year. Another custom was to toast the members of the house and the king. In Skedsmo, this was said to be the day the hibernating bear turns over in his sleep.
Sacrifice Eighth Gruel
On the eighth day of the 12th lunar month, the Chinese offer a special gruel to Buddha and the Ancestor. It is also given the following day to friends and relations along with pickled cabbage. The quality of the pickled cabbage predicts the fortune of the maker.