Plant Magic: Wisdom from the Green World

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Twelfth Night - Epiphany

January 6th, Twelfth Night was originally a Pagan festival until the fourth century CE, when, like many Pagan celebrations, it was usurped into the Christian calendar. Twelfth Night is also known as Epiphany and the ancient Greeks held a commemoration to deity. Drawn from the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning “appearance,” or “manifestation,” in the Greco-Roman world it signified a deity visiting devotees in a sacred place. The word also had the connotation of deity revealing him/herself in order to aid humans.

Fast forward to medieval times, this day was the traditional end of the winter solstice revels. Although mistletoe and holly decorations were usually burned to mark the end of Yule, in parts of northwest England Twelfth Night Holly Night was the last big blowout of the season. It was customary to carry one or more flaming branches of holly through the town accompanied by a loud band and fireworks.

If you prefer, Twelfth Night can be celebrated on a much smaller and quieter scale to honor your special deity on this day of epiphany. Gather a few holly leaves and write the name of a goddess or god on each one. Use additional leaves or a sprig of holly to honor multiple deities.

Go to a place outdoors where it is safe to burn things. Light a candle and then hold the leaves between your palms as you say: “On this day of epiphany; I take time to honor thee. Your love and guidance I request; and through your power I will be blessed.” Touch the holly to the candle flame and then drop it into your cauldron or other vessel. Repeat the incantation as the holly burns. When the ashes cool, scatter them on the ground.



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The author of over a dozen books, Sandra is an explorer of history, myth, and magic. Her writing has been featured in SageWoman, The Magical Times, The Portal, and Circle magazines, Utne Reader and Magical Buffet websites, and various Llewellyn almanacs. Although she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, she travels a solitary Goddess-centered path through the Druidic woods. She has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now Maine where she lives in an 1850s farmhouse surrounded by meadows and woods.  


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