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November

‘Ice before Martinmas,
Enough to bear a duck.
The rest of winter,
Is sure to be but muck!’

The name ‘November’ is believed to derive from‘novem’ which is the Latin for the number ‘nine’. In the ancient Roman calendar November was the ninth month after March. As part of the seasonal calendar November is the time of the ‘Snow Moon’ according to Pagan beliefs and the period described as the ‘Moon of the Falling Leaves’ by Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt). November has also been known as:

Slaght-maand(Slaughter month, of beasts ready for winter)
Old Dutch

Wind-monath (Wind month, fisherman brought boats ashore)
Blot-monath(Wind month)
Old Saxon

The first month of ‘Samhain’, known as time of the year of the ‘coming of darkness’, ‘the end of summer’ and of the ‘forces of the dark’ in the pagan calendar. It has been suggested that the earliest known date for the beginning of Samhain was in fact November 11 rather than the end of October, which perhaps goes some way to explaining the number of feast days during this period including the remembrance of the dead and the religious. If there is a hard frost before ‘St. Martin’s Day’ (November 11) according to folklore it will be a wet rather than cold month. The symbol of the bird is important through November - January, as it is associated with the winged Matthew (November 16) and even more so by ‘St. Matthew’ (September 21) of the gospels as a metaphorical influence. This is a time of dark and light, of sorrow before joy. ‘All Hallow’s’ (November 1) celebrations were a time to ensure that darkness would not triumph over the people, marking its power, and so protection was essential from the corrupt influence of negative energies and spirits (See Mystical WWW Mystic’s Menagerie, & Plants for further information on folklore). This driving out of darkness was referred to as ‘saining’ by the Celts. So we can see that after the plentiful harvest comes a time of preparation, a time when the deities were battling to maintain the power of good in order for mankind to survive.

As part of the seasonal calendar November was a time within the Celtic calendar to bring the animals in from the land, with selections made as to which would be the strongest to take forward to the new year and the light. Meat, or ‘winter food’, was therefore plentiful. ‘Bone fires’, or bonfires, were used to burn any part of the animal which was considered to be unfit for eating. At the ancient site of Avebury, England (See Mystical WWW Mystical Places) the place known as Windmill Hill still indicates a sacred place where the slaughtering would have taken place. This is the first month of ‘Samhain’ 

‘No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!-November!’

As part of the astrological calendar, November has many associations. This is the month of the house of Scorpio (October 24 - November 22) and the house of Sagittarius (23 November - December 21).

‘What else had you to learn?’
‘Well, there was Mystery...Mystery ancient and modern.’

Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac symbolised in four forms : the ‘eagle’, the ‘phoenix’, the ‘lizard’ and the ‘Scorpion’ and is often poorly mistaken for being a sign that can think of little else but physical passion. Yet Scorpio is a truly mystical sign and can transcend far beyond the physical realm to depths often left wanting in others. In ancient times we know that Scorpio and Libra were linked, believed to be as one form, when the scales were held between the claws, in the ‘Claws of the Scorpion’. Hence the desire for truth through examining all the available evidence and more is a powerful Scorpion trait, always supported with a sense of cautious investigation. The claws and scales indicated the power to preserve or destroy.

The ancient ruling planet of Scorpio was ‘Mars’, the ‘God of War’ associated with aggression and wrath, seen as tempestuous with explosive energetic outbursts. ‘Mars’, father of ‘Romulus’ and ‘Remus’, had ‘Venus’ as his mistress and a sister-wife ‘Bellona’. This ancient ruler perhaps gives some insight into why the sign is much maligned.

Pluto’ is now the ruling planet of Scorpio, symbolising the beginning of life and its end, creation and destruction most patently described in the life-forces of the earthquake, the volcano and subsequent explosive force. Yet it must then be remembered that Pluto also symbolises life after death, the resurrection. In Roman mythology, Pluto was seen to be the ‘Guardian of the Underworld’, known to the ancient Greeks as ‘Hades’. In ancient Greek mythology the hunter ‘Orion’ was stung by the scorpion after boasting of his prowess, that he could kill any animal. ‘Hera’ secretly commanded the scorpion to act and subsequently raised Scorpio to the Heavens, known as ‘Scorpius’. The qualities of Scorpio are seen to be magnetism, mystical intensity, dependability, indulgent, probing, defensive, changeable and secretive (Hera connection), On the negative side Scorpio can be self-destructive, seen as serious with a desire to control, especially in love. The symbol of the Scorpion is inextricably linked to Creation myths, more specifically the creation of man and woman, and their subsequent fall (the sting in the tail). The eighth phase of the journey of the Sun is experienced here, that of the middle aged adult determined to succeed in their abilities. Scorpio is a fixed and negative water sign associated with the statements ‘I control’, ‘I experience all things’ and ‘I know’. It rules the generative system. Scorpio has many floral associations, with the Hemlock, Ivy, Leeks, Onions, Black Poppy, Reeds, strong tasting root vegetables (See Mystical WWW Plants, & Language of Flowers). Scorpio is further associated with Thorn Apple, Blackthorn, Hawthorn (See Mystical WWW Trees). Colours associated with Scorpio are black, charcoal grey, maroon, blood red and dark red. The main stone associated with Scorpio is the Topaz, whilst the main stone associated with the month of November is also the Topaz (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Rhymes & Time - Language of Gems).Lucky number is nine, lucky day Tuesday (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Days of the Week). Metal associated is Plutonium. 

‘The Wheel of the Year begins anew once more.’

Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac symbolised by the ‘Archer’, the ‘centaur’, known as ‘Chiron’ who is half-man and half-horse, considered to be as wise as a sage. The bow is half-drawn and has three heads reflecting how the Sagittarian ponders the meaning of all that exists. The arrow should be further examined as it is pointed to the Heavens, indicating the potential of Sagittarius to inspire others, and a personal desire to ascend to a more spiritual level. Sagittarius is further associated with the demonic archer ‘Sagittary’which was half-man and half-beast. In ancient Greek mythology the centaur was seen to be a symbol of the healer who is capable of bringing solace to others, being compassionate as a result of their own experiences which have left healed wounds (hence one more reason for the symbolism of the arrow). Sagittary was also known to be able to pounce upon enemies and triumph with such speed that he was dreaded. His glance was also believed to have the power to quell attack. Perhaps this speed of action and display of energy is one reason why Sagittarius is considered to be excellent at sport but always with a sense of fair play. Further associations exist with ‘Sagittifer’, the ‘Arrow Carrier’, and ‘Semivir’.

The ruling planet of Sagittarius is ‘Jupiter’,also known as the‘Prince of Light’, ‘Jupiter Optimus Maximus’,and the‘Shepherd of the Stars’. Jupiter was revered by the Romans as their lord, being a highly dignified deity with the ability to communicate with all other signs, and thought to be able to see the future. This ability is perhaps associated with the belief that Jupiter provided omens of what was to come through the flight of birds. The qualities of Sagittarius are seen to reflect the intellectual, generosity, competitiveness, the extrovert, the ability to communicate, outspoken, philosophical, a lover of travel and passionate. On the negative side Sagittarius can be seen as restless, changeable, preoccupied with the need for a higher truth and must remember that to rest is vital to avoid burn-out. The ninth phase of the journey of the Sun is experienced here, that of the empowered adult who wishes to begin to explore their own interests, similar to that of the retired individual, once family and work are settled. Sagittarius is a mutable and positive fire sign associated with the statements ‘I need freedom’, ‘I exploreand I philosophise’. It rules the hips and thighs. Sagittarius has many floral associations, with Asparagus, Pink Carnations, Dandelions, Dried Fruits, Golden Rods, Grapefruits, Narcissus, Pinks, Reeds and Soybeans, and many bulb vegetables (See Mystical WWW Plants, & Language of Flowers). Sagittarius is further associated with the Ash, Birch, Chestnut, Elder, Mulberry, Oak, Plum and Yew (See Mystical WWW Trees). Colours associated with Sagittarius are beige, bronze, denim blue, indigo, rich purple, red and violet. The main stone associated with Sagittarius is the Turquoise, whilst the main stone associated with the month of December is also the Turquoise (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Rhymes & Time - Language of Gems).Lucky number is three, lucky day Thursday (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Days of the Week). Metal associated is Tin.  

‘Explanations take such a dreadful long time.’

‘The great art of riding...is to keep your balance properly.
Like this...he let go of the bridle, and stretched out both his arms...and this time he fell flat on his back,
right under the horse’s feet.’

‘Make use of Time, let not advantage slip.’

 

Movable Celebrations

 

Throughout November
Guernsey, UK : Eisteddfod Festival.

Installation of Guru Granth Sahib as Eternal Guru
Sikh holiday and festival : (1997 November 2, 1998 October 22).

November 5 (nearest Saturday)
Lamberhurst, Kent, England : ‘Guy Fawkes' Day’ Bonfire & Fireworks Display. Remembrance of the attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605. During the eighteenth century is was illegal to celebrate this day but the bill was repealed.

First Sunday after November 12
Broughton, Northamptonshire, England : Traditional ‘Tin Can Band’ Parade at midnight.

Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev
Sikh holiday and festival : (1997 November 14, 1998 November 4).

Saturday nearest November 30
Eton College, Buckinghamshire, England : Traditional ‘Wall Game’.

 

Unlucky November Dates

5. 6. 15. 20. 29. 30.

According to the English historian Richard Grafton these certain dates of the month were unlucky as published in the ‘Manual’ in 1565. Days throughout the year were identified and of course could have related to any day of the week. The date was the most important point to consider. The work was reputed to have some credence with support given by astronomers of the day. Exactly why these dates are unlucky is unclear today but by looking at the calendar of days an idea of the major occurrences can be seen.