Thursday, 1 January 2015

mokie: Stonehenge with the sun shining through the stones (holiday renewal)
So, January! Originally Ianuarius*, from Janus**, Rome's two-faced god of liminality who had dominion over doors and gates, passages and transitions, beginnings and endings, yada and yada. He was kind of a big deal, such a big deal that nobody talked about what a big deal he was except to affirm that he was a big deal, and thus we know squat about his worship nowadays, except that it was apparently important that he could see into both the past and the future.

Hence January is "The door to the new year," when we look back on the year past through endless top ten lists and sigh about how stupid we were then, before turning our eyes to the year ahead with vows to do better, which we will give up on about two weeks in because, ugh, exercise. It is traditionally a time not just to set new goals, but to settle past problems and debts, which sounds like hippie-dippie 'closure' talk to us these days, but to a pre-industrial farmer hoping the food holds out two more months, making peace with the neighboring pig farmer on your way to collect from that guy who owed you five turnips was probably more of a practical matter.

So take a hard look at where you stand and tighten your belt, because the keyword for January is 'discipline'. (For two weeks, at least.)

For those to whom such things are interesting:
- Zodiac signs: Capricorn / Aquarius (starting Jan 21)
- Birthstone: garnet
- Flower: the carnation or the snowdrop (depending on which list you prefer)

If you're of a witchy persuasion, I had these scribbled in my little book, though the sources are lost to the mists of time my shoddy memory:
- Magical correspondences: Janus (crossing thresholds), Hestia (protecting homes)
- Magic: protection, resolution and renewal magic, and spell reversal

There is no 'Indian name' for any of the full moons. That's a vicious lie spread by the weatherpeople to distract us from the real issues. However, the full moon in January is usually the early winter moon, and various folks of various nationalities and ethnicities have slapped their own fun name on that, including the Cold Moon, Winter Moon, Cruel Moon, Severe Moon (see a trend?), Quiet Moon, Silent Moon, Wolf Moon, Mouse Moon, Moon After Yule, Oak Moon, and Old Moon. It's also supposedly the Great Spirit Moon to the Ojibwa and Moon of the Terrible to the Sioux, but take those with a salt mine, because even with an actual tribe attached, they sound suspiciously cool/hippielicious.

January is Get Over It Month (for obvious reasons), Get Organized, Hobby, Thank You and Letter Writing Month (I'm blaming resolutions), and Yours, Mine & Ours Month (maybe Janus had a thing for Lucille Ball). I'll acknowledge these, but you have to draw the line somewhere, or you end up with things like National Pencil Month (February - yes, really), which is just silly. It's also Hot Tea Month, which always makes sense.

The second week of January is Someday We'll Laugh About This (makes sense, as you give up on your resolution to pursue your dream hobby of Mexican wrestling), and the fourth week is both Meat Week and Kiss a Shark Week, which sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Movable feasts include:
- Secret Pal Day on the second Sunday, when you go to meet your buddy and pick up your luchador masks together;
- Martin Luther King, Jr Day on the third Monday, which sometimes falls on the 19th and coincides with Robert E. Lee Day/Confederate Memorial Day in parts of the South, which is part of why we can't have nice things;
- Employee Appreciation Day on the third Wednesday, which was probably started with the best of intentions;
- International Fetish Day on the third Friday, because after the farce that is Employee Appreciation Day, don't you deserve a little naughty time?;
- and once every four years on the 20th, Inauguration Day, when we Americans come together as a nation to pretend the popular vote matters.

WOO! On to the month!


* Because as Indiana Jones taught us, there is no J in the ancient Latin alphabet.
** Okay, Ianos.
mokie: Stonehenge with the sun shining through the stones (holiday renewal)
My family always started the new year off with a Southern tradition by way of Africa - a meal of black-eyed peas and greens (cabbage, in our house), symbolizing wealth in the year ahead. It was a fartstravaganza, guaranteed to chase home any lingering relatives.

Alas, this year I'm down with the flu, which is not conducive to cooking, or focusing, or staying awake.* Maybe I can fudge it, and count six days after the Greek Orthodox Christmas...


* Or posting publicly: this post has been post-dated for quality assurance purposes.

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