July was named for Julius Caesar who reorganized the previously skewed calendar to what is now called the Julian Calendar. Instituted in 26 BC, this was known as the Year of Confusion because of the irritation switching calendar caused. This was the calendar of the west for the next 1600 years. July is sacred to Apt (or Apet), Athena, Sothis, Spider Woman, and Rosea.
The Irish name for this month was Iuil or an t-Iuchar, the border time. Traditionally during the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August, Sirius, the dog star, can be seen in the sky. The Anglo-Saxon name was Aeftera Litha, "after Litha," or sometimes Maedmonat, "meadow month." Hewimanoth, "hay month," was the Frankish name, and the Asatru call it Haymoon.
The first Full Moon is called the Buck Moon. It is also the Blessing or Wort Moon and the Honey Moon, a name it shares with June's Moon. It is also called the Moon of Claiming, Fallow Moon, Thunder Moon, a name shared with August, and Moon of Blood (due to mosquitoes), a name it share with October. It is sometimes also called the Full Hay Moon.
The sun passes from Cancer to Leo on July 23rd. The birth flower for July is the larkspur. Onyx, sardonyx, carnelian, turquoise or rubies are the stones listed for those born in July. The birthstone of Cancer is the moonstone or pearl, while Leo's stone is the ruby, onyx, or smoky quartz. Albite, chrysoprase, emerald, green tourmaline, opal, pink tourmaline, and rhodochrosite are also significant to Cancers, and amber, carnelian, chrysocolla, citrine, fire agate, garnet, pink tourmaline, ruby, and topaz are associated with Leo.
Lunar Holy Days
The seventh of the seventh moon is the Chhit Sek or Chilsuk, a Chinese holiday honoring the meeting of the Heavenly Spinning Lady (the star Vega) and her lover, the Cowherd (the star Altair). (See also July 7th)
The last Sunday in July is the Procession of Witches in Beselare, Belgium.
The people of India and Nepal honor a promise given by the Nagas, snake deities, with the Naga Panchami. Nagas control weather, especially water, and they can also cure or cause disease, bring good luck or bad, and prevent or cause death by snake bite. According to legend, a farmer once accidentally killed three baby snakes while farming. The angry mother snake entered his house and killed all but the daughter who put a bowl of milk in front of herself for the snake. The snake not only spared her life but offered her anything she wished. The girl wished for her family to be restored and for the snake to refrain from killing anyone else that day. This was granted and the snake slithered away. Snake images are displayed on religious altars, and offerings of milk, grain, and food are placed at the mouth of snake holes. Live serpents are carried through town or pulled around in pots on carts. Plowing and digging are forbidden.
In Japan, this day is sacred to Fuji, the ancient Japanese goddess of fire. Fuji is also regarded as the grandmother of Japan, and on this special day (which also marks the start of Mount Fuji Climbing Season) she is honored with prayers and burnt offerings.
Rain today meant rainy weather for the next four weeks.
In the Zoroastrian religion, Tir Jashan honors the spirits of rain.
Nostradamus died today in 1566.
The Italian Il Palio in Siena is a festival of medieval games.
In ancient times, the citizens of Rome celebrated the Feast of Expectant Mothers. At temples throughout the city, all pregnant women gathered to receive blessings and honor Bona Dea, Carmenta, Lucina, and other goddesses associated with birth and fertility.
(June 26th?) The New Year of the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida begins on this date, and is celebrated with an annual Green Corn Dance honoring the new corn crop. Eating the first corn marks the start of a new year.
The Festival of Cerridwen honors the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, plenty, and pigs. In Italy, this day is sacred to the Witch of Gaeta; while in Greece, the goddess Athena is honored.
Sothis begins in Egypt, honoring the rise of Sirius.
The Dog Days of Summer officially begin. According to Hellenic traditions, the rising of the Dog Star heralded the hottest part of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. The Dog Days of Summer, as calculated by the Greater or Lesser Dog Star (Sirius or Procyon), may continue from 30 to 54 days. A generally accepted period is from July 3 to August 15.
The Greeks referred to the Dog Stars as Maera and Hecuba, and the Romans called them Canicula and Sycamine. It was called Isis Hathor by the Egyptians and symbolized by the form of a cow with disc and horns or as a cow recumbent in a boat with head surmounted by a star appearing from behind the western hills. In the earlier temple service of Denderah, Sirius was Isis Sothis and at Philae Isis Sati or Satit. Sirius, Canis Major, was Al Shi'ra or Al Si'ra in Arabic parts of the world, and Canis Minor was called Al Jummaiza or Al Ghumaisa, "the Dim" from the fact that her light was dimmer than that of her sister Al Shi'ra. They were also called Al Aliawat al Suhail, the Sisters of Canopus. The Norse called Sirius Loki's Brand.
The Athenian festival to honor Athena was called the Panathenaea. On the sixth day, the goddess' statue was dressed in a new robe. This was also a holy day of the Roman Goddess Pax, goddess of peace.
Julian the Blessed (331-363 BC) was a learned philosopher and Roman emperor who restored pagan religions to Rome.
During Hashi Matsuri or Tanabata, Japanese families mark the reunion of two celestial lovers. Called the Tanabata lovers, they are the stars Vega and Aquila, separated by the Milky Way, the "celestrial river." Vega represents the weaver maiden Zhi Nu and Aquila is the cowherd. Children's writing samples and personal pleas are affixed to bamboo fronds. Prayers will be answered and the children's writing will improve.
The Roman festival of Consualia honored Consus, god of harvests. The Feriae Ancillarum was the Festival of the Handmaids during which maids were beyond the control of their mistresses. The second festival of Parilia honors the Pales. A special feast, called the Nonae Caprotinae (Nones of the Wild Fig), was celebrated in honor of Juno on the Nones of Quintilis (7th of July). Female servants went in procession to a fig tree, carrying on all kinds of sports. Maidservants had charade fights with stones and engaged in other competitions. A feast was enjoyed at the tree, followed by a day of thanksgiving on the 8th.
The feast of St. Sunniva was a medieval version of Sunna, the Norse solar maiden.
This is the second day of the Nonae Caprotinae honoring Juno.
Once every four years, the ancient Athenians celebrated the Panathenaea in honor of Athena, their patron goddess, by presenting her with a brilliant new robe. It would first be paraded through the streets before the priests would dress the goddess's statue with the robe.
Holda, Hela, and Skadi are northern European goddesses of the shades and underworld. The procession of Lady Goddiva once included the images of a white Holda and a black Hela. Knut the Reaper is honored today. His symbol, the scythe, is also an emblem of the destroying goddess Skadi, patroness of Scotland and Scandinavia.
Theano, wife of Pythagoras and a philosopher herself, is sometimes considered the patroness of vegetarians. She was a native either of Crete or Crotona.
The Naadam, or Three Manly Games, festival of Mongolia is celebrated with horse racing and feats of archery and wrestling. Of course, this is a misnomer. Women and children participate in the races and archery contests.
According to the Egyptian calendar, on the 28th of Mesore the Feast of Min is celebrated.
This day was revealed as the luckiest day of the year by the archangel Gabriel. Healing, planting, house building, traveling, and war were all supposed to proceed without a problem. Children born today would be wealthy, and students who began their work today would be great scholars. A new job begun today would be successful.
On the 29th day of Mesore, a festival was held in the Temple of Sokar and in the Estate of Ptah.
During the three day Buddhist O-Bon festival of Japan, the spirits of the dead mingle with the living. It is a time for family reunions so that the entire family, living and dead, may share in the day's festivities. After house cleaning is finished, the family moves on to the shrine or grave of their loved ones and fill the site with offerings of herbs, flowers, and food. On the evening of July 12th, the family gathers at the grave-side to greet ancestral spirits and escort them home. Called the Feat of Lanterns by foreigners, the nights are illuminated by lanterns and torches. For the rest of the festival, families feast, laying a place at all meals for their deceased. Celebrants gather outside in parks or squares to participate in the traditional Bon Dance intended to greet and comfort the wandering souls. At the end of the festival, farewell fires are lit and lanterns are set out to help the spirits find their way home. In some areas, little boats equipped with lanterns are also sent out.
The birthday of Ra occurs on the 30th day of Mesore.
The 1st of the Epagomenal Days is the Birthday of Osiris.
This is Reed Dance Day in Africa.
On St. Within's Day, a Christian version of the Norse sea and storm god Aegir, rain meant more rain for the next forty days.
The Day of Rauni is a Finnish and Cornish holy day. The Cornish goddess Rowana or Rauni, guardian of rowan trees, is patroness of the secret knowledge of the runes. Her tree is protective, and its wood, bark, and leaves, used for making protective amulets, are especially effective if cut today. A simple charm consists of binding some leaves and bark up in white or gold cloth with red thread while visualizing the goal of the spell. In Finnish mythology, she is the wife of Ukko the Thunder God. The name comes from 'ronn' or 'raun', the Nordic names for Rowan.
On the 2nd of the Epagomenal Days, Horus was born.
In Haiti, Voodoo pilgrims seek healing and good health in the holy waters of the Saut d'Eau, a waterfall where the voodoo spirit of love, Erozulie Freda, appeared twice in the 1800s.
The 3rd Epagomenal Day is the Birthday of Set(h).
This is the Japanese feast day of Amaterasu-O-Mi-Kami. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the first procession takes place. This is the Yamahoko-junko, which consists of twenty floats. When Emporer Seiwa of Japan successfully drove an epidemic out of the city of Kyoto in 869, the day was commemorated with a festival. He performed the fete by displaying sixty-six spears before his imperial shrine. Every year after, he paraded the spears through the streets in honor of the gods. This is continued in the Gion festival. The spears are carried in sapling topped shrines accompanied by dozens of musicians led by a boy dressed as a Shinto priest.
The birth of Isis, wife of Osiris, child of Seb the earth god and Nut the sky goddess occurs on the 4th of the Epagomenal Days. She is the mother of Horus and an agricultural goddess identified with Demeter and associated with the seasonal rise of the Nile river which brought fertile soil up from the river's bottom.
Lu Pan, the Chinese patron of carpenters and builders, was born in 606 BC. He is credited with repairing the pillar of heaven when it was in danger of collapsing. A special visit is paid to his shrine at noon by carpenters and builders in Hong Kong. Feasts are offered to him whenever new buildings are completed.
John Dee, an English astrologer, alchemist, and mathematician was born.
The birthday of Nephthys falls on the 5th Epagomenal Day. She is equivalent to Aphrodite. She is the wife of Set and sister to Isis.
Isis was honored in Rome until the 4th century AD. In Egypt, this was the Opet Festival, celebrating the union of Isis and Osiris. According to the Egyptian calendar, this is the first day of the month of Thuthi. The festival continued for eleven days and centered on the Ipet (Opet) temple. Amun and his spouse Mut, accompanied by the god Khonsu, were taken in a ceremonial procession to this temple. This was also a feast day of Thoth. (See August 7th)
The Adonia occurred in Greece today. It was the sacred drama commemorating the wedding of Aphrodite to Adonis.
The Mayan New Year was celebrated today. Each day, year, decade, century, and millennium had its own god. The Mayan solar calendar possessed 365 days, and they also possessed a sacred calendar of 260 days for determining which deity was in charge. Every fifty-second solar New Year was dangerous because the gods might leave their duties and time would stop.
The seeress Damo, daughter of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras and Theano, was honored today. All of Pythagoras' secrets were entrusted to her care after his death.
According to the Egyptian calendar, Aten was born today.
The Neptunalia honored the sea god Neptune and his wife, Salacia, goddess of the wide-open salty sea and the mineral water of springs. Originally Neptune was a god of fresh waters while his wife held dominion over the salty seas. The goddess Sulis of the hot springs of Bath may have been one of her aspects. Neptune and his wife are equivalent to the Norse deities Aegir and his wife Ran. In Greece, Salacia would be Amphitrite.
In Egypt the Festival of the Rise of Sothis-Sirius, the star of Isis was celebrated in conjunction with the rise of the Nile. This was usually celebrated on the 3rd day of Thuthi. The Egyptians referred to this as prt Spdt "the going up of (the goddess) Sothis" and was called wpt-rnpt, "the opening of the year" one of three "New Years" festivals of the Egyptians. This was the third New Year's festival and heralded the first day of the Sothic year.
Gwyl o Cerridwen is the Feast of Cerridwen which begins at sundown.
The Feast of St. Christopher, patron of travelers, occurred today. Much of his character was acquired from the Flemish by way of Thor, the god of thunder, rain, and farming. The Flemish would pray to the Saint in the same way they had prayed to the god. He was called upon to protect their crops from harsh weather.
Furrinalia honored Furrina, an ancient Italian goddess of springs. This festival was closely related to the Neptunalia. There was a Grove to Furrina at Rome, and the Furies may have been related to her.
The death of Pope Innocent III in 1492. He issued the anti-witchcraft edict Summis Desiderantes Affectibus.
The Hopi Niman dance marks the end of a visit from the Kachinas which began in February.
The Asatru festival of Sleipner, Odin's eight-legged mount, honors the creature's ability to travel between worlds. Sleipner is a shamanic steed that can be used to travel to other levels of consciousness.
Hatshepsut's Day in Egypt. This is the 6th day of the month of Thuthi. The Feast of Anket is held, welcoming the rising of the Nile.
Siblings in northern India celebrate the Raksha Bandhan. As a sign of family unity, women tie rakshis, amulets made from woven strips of colored yarn, around the wrists of the brothers, and the brothers give gifts to their sisters and promise to protect them. Narial Purnima, "Coconut Full Moon," occurs at the end of July or beginning of August. Varuna, the Vedic god of the sea, is honored with coconuts thrown into the ocean.
The Irish sacrificial god, Domhnach Chrom Dubh, is connected with the festival of Lammas as John Barleycorn, a personification of grain.
This is Pythia's Day in Greece, mother of Pythagoras.
Thor, or the Anglo-Saxon Thunor, is honored.
The Piscis Austrinids meteor shower peaks on this date. It began on July ninth and will end on August seventeenth. This shower is best seen from near-equatorial or southern hemisphere sites.
The Delta Aquarids meteor shower also peaks at this time and emanates from the same region of space. It began one day earlier than the Piscis Austrinids and will end two days after.
Helena Petrovna Hahn, later called Madam Blavatsky, was born at the midnight hour between the 30th and 31st of July (in the Russian Calendar, August 12) in 1831, at Ekaterinoslav. She was the mystic and medium who wrote Isis Unveiled.
The Alpha-Capricornids peak at this time. Having begun on the third, it will end on August twenty-fifth. It is best observed from the southern hemisphere, but can be seen in some northern areas. It is a particularly bright shower with some fireball class meteors.
Lammas Eve is sacred to Loki and his wife Sigyn. The Celts called it Oidhche L'dghnasa, August Eve, or Lughnassadh.