What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is an annual holiday which occurs on June 19th and is observed in the United States. It is one of the oldest celebrations of the abolition of slavery in the world. While this holiday isn’t an official government holiday in any U.S state, it is recognized as a ceremonial observance in roughly half of the U.S states and is observed as a “partial staffing holiday” in Texas – which means that government offices do not close on this day but some employees are allowed to take the day off by using a floating holiday.

History of Juneteenth

The history of Juneteenth can be traced all the way back to June 19th of 1865. This is when the Union Army, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that all former slaves were now free. Although President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, slavery hadn’t ended in Texas because there weren’t enough Union soldiers in the state to enforce the new order. However, the sound defeat of General Lee in April of that year and the arrival of the Union soldiers under Granger strengthened the forces sufficiently enough to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

While the original reason for why Texas was over two years behind in freeing slaves is lost to the fog of time. However, there are a few stories that have been passed down through the generations to explain the delay. The first story tells of a messenger who was on his way to Texas to deliver the order of freedom when he was captured and murdered. Another possibility is that the plantations ignored the order so they could maintain their free working force.

On June 19th, 1865, Major General Granger read General Order Number 3 to the people of Texas. This order stated: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.” Reaction to this order by the former slaves was as varied as you could imagine. Some of the slaves stayed on under their former masters in a working capacity, while others left immediately after the order was read. Some of the headed North and others head to other parts of the South looking for family members they may have been separated. As more and more families united, they remembered fondly the day they acquired their freedom and began to celebrate it as Juneteenth. The day gained further prominence during the Civil Rights Movement.

Where is Juneteenth celebrated?

United states – All except am. samoa , az , hi , md , mp , mt , nd , nh , sd , ut , virg. is.

 

In Honor of the Women, Men, and Aminals that Served Our Country

This will be the only post for today. Please light a candle in memory of the people and animals who have died over the centuries to keep the restof of us safe.

I ask you to not only remember the brave men, women, and animals that served in the USA armed forces but also their family and friends. Remember to the men, women, animals, family, and friends of those who gave their life in the line of duty as a First Responder.

May those who remember rest peacefully in the Summerlands.

May their family and friends find comfort and support to help ease their grief.

So mote it be.

The Witches library

 

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Witch medicine is wild medicine. It does more than make one healthy, it creates lust and knowledge, ecstasy and mythological insight. In Witchcraft Medicine the authors take the reader on a journey that examines the women who mix the potions and become the healers; the legacy of Hecate; the demonization of nature’s healing powers and sensuousness; the sorceress as shaman; and the plants associated with witches and devils. They explore important seasonal festivals and the plants associated with them, such as wolf’s claw and calendula as herbs of the solstice and alder as an herb of the time of the dead–Samhain or Halloween. They also look at the history of forbidden medicine from the Inquisition to current drug laws, with an eye toward how the sacred plants of our forebears can be used once again.

Really loved this book and would recommend it anyone, from novice to long time established practitioners. Happy reading and blessings.

Tracing back the ancient origins of April Fools’ Day

On 1 st April every year, people around the world celebrate April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, a day when merriment and joviality is supposed to reign and pranks, practical jokes, and hoaxes are socially sanctioned.  The tradition of April Fools’ Day has been observed for at least five centuries, but evidence suggests it traces back nearly two millennia or more.  Despite the day being marked by many countries around the world, there is still little agreement as to its true origins.

A popular theory suggests that April Fools’ day is a remnant of early ‘renewal festivals’ which took place in many different cultures to mark the beginning of spring. The Romans, for example, had a festival named Hilaria on 25 th March, which they marked with masquerades and “general good cheer.” According to the Museum of Hoaxes , these festivities typically involved “ritualized forms of mayhem and misrule.”  Participants donned disguises, played tricks on friends as well as strangers, and inverted the social order.

To read the rest of this article please click on this link: History of April Fools Day

The Ancient Pagan Origins of Easter

Easter  Sunday is a festival and holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world who honour the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary. It is also the day that children excitedly wait for the Easter bunny to arrive and deliver their treats of chocolate eggs. Easter is a ‘movable feast’ which is chosen to correspond with the first Sunday following the full moon after the March equinox, and occurs on different dates around the world since western churches use the Gregorian calendar, while eastern churches use the Julian calendar. So where did this ‘movable feast’ begin, and what are the origins of the traditions and customs celebrated on this important day around the world?

To read the rest of this informative article please click on this link{ Pagan Origins of Easter

New Year

In many pagan traditions Samhain, October 31st, is the end of one year and the beginning of the next. While modern society celebrates the last day of the old year on December 31 st and the beginning of the new year on January 1st. Below is an article explaining some different new year traditions and dates.

A History of New Years

In 46 B.C.E. the Roman emperor Julius Caesar first established January 1 as New Year’s day. Janus was the Roman god of doors and gates, and had two faces, one looking forward and one back.  Caesar felt that the month named after this god (“January”) would be the appropriate “door” to the year.  Caesar celebrated the first January 1 New Year by ordering the violent routing of revolutionary Jewish forces in the Galilee.  Eyewitnesses say blood flowed in the streets.  In later years, Roman pagans observed the New Year by engaging in drunken orgies—a ritual they believed constituted a personal re-enacting of the chaotic world that existed before the cosmos was ordered by the gods.

As Christianity spread, pagan holidays were either incorporated into the Christian calendar or abandoned altogether.  By the early medieval period most of Christian Europe regarded Annunciation Day (March 25) as the beginning of the year.  (According to Catholic tradition, Annunciation Day commemorates the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would be impregnated by G-d and conceive a son to be called Jesus.)

After William the Conqueror (AKA “William the Bastard” and “William of Normandy”) became King of England on December 25, 1066, he decreed that the English return to the date established by the Roman pagans, January 1.  This move ensured that the commemoration of Jesus’ birthday (December 25) would align with William’s coronation, and the commemoration of Jesus’ circumcision (January 1) would start the new year – thus rooting the English and Christian calendars and his own Coronation).  William’s innovation was eventually rejected, and England rejoined the rest of the Christian world and returned to celebrating New Years Day on March 25.

About five hundred years later, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII (AKA “Ugo Boncompagni”, 1502-1585) abandoned the traditional Julian calendar.  By the Julian reckoning, the solar year comprised 365.25 days, and the intercalation of a “leap day” every four years was intended to maintain correspondence between the calendar and the seasons.  Really, however there was a slight inaccuracy in the Julian measurement (the solar year is actually 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds = 365.2422 days).  This slight inaccuracy caused the Julian calendar to slip behind the seasons about one day per century.  Although this regression had amounted to 14 days by Pope Gregory’s time, he based his reform on restoration of the vernal equinox, then falling on March 11, to the date had 1,257 years earlier when Council of Nicaea was convened (March 21, 325 C.E.).  Pope Gregory made the correction by advancing the calendar 10 days.  The change was made the day after October 4, 1582, and that following day was established as October 15, 1582.  The Gregorian calendar differs from the Julian in three ways:  (1) No century year is a leap year unless it is exactly divisible by 400 (e.g., 1600, 2000, etc.); (2) Years divisible by 4000 are common (not leap) years; and (3) once again the New Year would begin with the date set by the early pagans, the first day of the month of Janus – January 1.

On New Years Day 1577 Pope Gregory XIII decreed that all Roman Jews, under pain of death, must listen attentively to the compulsory Catholic conversion sermon given in Roman synagogues after Friday night services.  On New Years Day 1578 Gregory signed into law a tax forcing Jews to pay for the support of a “House of Conversion” to convert Jews to Christianity.  On New Years 1581 Gregory ordered his troops to confiscate all sacred literature from the Roman Jewish community.  Thousands of Jews were murdered in the campaign.

Throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, January 1 – supposedly the day on which Jesus’ circumcision initiated the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism – was reserved for anti-Jewish activities: synagogue and book burnings, public tortures, and simple murder.

The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, “Sylvester,” was the name of the “Saint” and Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.).  The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem.  At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation.  All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory.  December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory.

U.S. News and World Report December 23, 1996