‘A gush of bird song, a patter of dew
A cloud and a rainbow's warning;
Suddenly sunshine and perfect blue
An April day in the morning!’
Harriet Prescott Spofford
For Easter related dates see Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Mystical Months - March. For specific information on Easter Traditions see Mystical WWW Easter Special.
The Roman Goddess of Love ‘Aprilis’ was honoured when naming the month of ‘April’. As part of the seasonal calendar April is the time of the ‘Growing Moon’ according to Pagan beliefs and the period described as the ‘Moon of the Red Grass Appearing’ by Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt). It is also the last month of ‘Imbolc’, before ‘Beltaine’. Mark, of the gospels, features as a strong influence within the early Celtic church at this time of year (see February introduction). The need to toil the land, to work to achieve the ends is further symbolised by his work, that of spreading the news of the gospels and in the significance of the pilgrimage, the journey to achieve enlightenment. Early pilgrims were influenced by the laws of nature, in a similar way to the pre-Christians belief and practice of ritual and folklore related to nature, reading the actions of animals to lead them to a place of rest. Most important in this month are the cattle or oxen, the deer or stag, and of course the ram (Aries). The spirit was believed to be renewed in this month and therefore there was a need to let go of unnecessary worries and focus on the purpose, the commitment of faith and practice, to resurrect the slumbering energies if the months ahead were to be of service to the deities and God.
‘Brigid’ (1 February) and ‘Columcille’ (7 June) were joint protectors of cattle and it was practice at this time to hope that the protection asked for during the period of Samhain had been granted and that the cattle would be healthy, so ensuring that when winter returned meat would be plentiful providing strength in the months of darkness (Samhain and Imbolc):
‘Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
All kine and crops, all flocks and corn,
From Hallow Eve to Beltane Eve.’
‘When April blows her horn (thunder)
it’s good for hay and corn.’
As part of the astrological calendar, April has many associations. This is the month of the house of Aries (March 21 - April 20) and the house of Taurus (21 April - May 22).
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and represents the beginning of the journey that the sun will follow through the zodiac. symbolised by the ‘Ram’ and the Greek ‘God Ares’, the ‘War God’ of the Iliad, son of ‘Zeus’and ‘Hera’, who is the equivalent of the Roman ‘God Mars’. The vernal equinox, the start of spring begins on March 21 the same day as we enter the house of Aries. The horns, and the centre between the eyebrows and the nose of the ram are also used as signs for Aries, as the power force has long been associated with the head, the source of the Aries drive. Naturally then the Aries should possess a strong sense of intuition. In ancient Assyrian mythology Aries meant Prince, and the ancient Egyptians connected Aries with the ‘God Amun’, also ‘Amon-Ra’, the ‘Sun God’ revered as the leader of the universe and the creator.
The influence of ‘Mars’ is clear as Aries possesses the qualities of the pioneer, the leader, primal passion, initiative, creativity, courage and self-will. The Aries is a force to be reckoned with as ‘Mars’ the ruling planet of Aries brings with it an extremely powerful force that can at times be unstable. As the first sign Aries is full of energy like the child who is curious, and is likened to the first stage of life. Aries is a cardinal and positive fire sign associated with the statements ‘I am’ or ‘I am first’ or‘I will be first’(needless to say that this assertiveness can be mistaken for arrogance).Aries is associated with the Poppy, Honeysuckle, Bryony, Thistles and Ferns, Peppermint and the Anemone (See Mystical WWW Plants, & Language of Flowers). Aries is further associated with the Alder, Blackthorn, Dogwood, Hawthorn, Pomegranate, Spruce and Weeping Willow (See Mystical WWW Trees). Colours associated with Aries are scarlet, all shades of red, carmine The main stone associated with Aries is the Diamond, whilst the main stone associated withMarch is the Bloodstone (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time :Rhymes & Times - Language of Gems).Lucky number is nine, lucky day Tuesday (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Days of the Week). Metal associated is iron.
‘But it’s no use going back to yesterday,
I was a different person then.’
Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac, symbolised by the ‘Sacred Bull’ or ‘heavenly bull’ and has close associations with all cattle (See Mystical WWW Mystic’s Menagerie : Cattle, for more folklore information). In ancient Persian astrology Taurus translated as the ‘Bull of Light’, and in ancient Egypt Taurus represented fertility and development or growth and was linked closely with the success of the land to produce. The sacred bull was also seen by the ancient Egyptians as the vessel in which the ‘God Osiris’ was celestial. Taurus reflects the second phase of the journey of the sun, and of the child relating to the early teen years.
‘Venus’ is the ruling planet of Taurus and the Roman ‘Goddess of Love’. To the ancients the planet Venus was seen as highly important being second to the Sun and the Moon. The ancient Greeks believed that ‘Phaeton’ nearly destroyed the earth, known as the ‘Blazing Star’, the earth became consumed by fire and Phaeton was transformed into Venus. The ancient Assyrians knew the planet as the ‘fearful dragon...who is clothed in fire’. The Aztecs, called it ‘The star that smoked’, the Quetzalcoatl called it ‘The feathered Serpent’, and the Midrash knew it as ‘The brilliant light... blazing from one end of the cosmos to the other’. Venus, is often used to symbolise the inner qualities of romance, loyalty, practicality, caution and charm whilst also having a love of the land, art, of the finest luxuries that can be obtained with a powerful desire of beautiful possessions, (so there is a danger of excess in all things). ‘Aphrodite’, the ancient Greek ‘Goddess of Love’ was seen to influence those around her by the use of her magic girdle. One fitting and you were smitten. Taurus has a way of encouraging this response. Venus also brings the need for affection and a search for love, as those born during this time are also generous in love, sharing their enjoyment and their warmth. Taurus is a fixed, negative earth sign, the first earth sign associated with the statements ‘I am steadfast and provide stability’, ‘Mine’ and ‘I value possessions and enjoy indulgence’. It rules the throat and the neck. Taurus is associated with the Daisy, Dandelion, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, Poppy and Rose (See Mystical WWW Plants, & Language of Flowers). Taurus is further associated with the Apple, Blackthorn, Fig, Hawthorn, Pear, Vine and Willow (See Mystical WWW Trees). Colours associated with Taurus are pale blue, all shades of green, pink and yellow. The main stone associated with Taurus is the Emerald, whilst the main stone associated with the month of April is the Diamond (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Rhymes & Time - Language of Gems).Lucky number is seven, lucky day Thursday (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Days of the Week). Metal associated is copper.
‘Without, the frost - the blinding snow,
The storm-wind’s moody madness -
Within, the firelight’s ruddy glow,
And childhood’s nest of gladness.’
Second Tuesday after Easter
Hungerford, Berkshire, England : ‘Hocktide’ ceremonies in the memory of John of Gaunt.
Sikh festival and holiday (April 13, 1997, movable to June).
Unlucky April Dates
7. 8. 10. 16. 20. 21.
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.