Witchology, the history of Wicca & Witchcraft
by Dr Leo Ruickbie

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Read Dr Ruickbie on witchcraft and magic in Paranormal magazine.

What is Witchcraft?

That's what this website is here to find out. Witchology.com is the website of WICA - the Witchcraft Information Centre and Archive - founded in 1999 by Dr Leo Ruickbie as a research and education provider specialising in the areas of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic (Magick) and the Occult. We have been online continuously since 2000.

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About Leo Ruickbie's Books:

The Supernatural"The Supernatural is the perfect introduction to the world of all things eerie, inexplicable and otherworldly." - Jason Karl, Most Haunted
Coming in 2012!

Witchcraft out of the Shadows: A Complete History"Witchcraft out of the Shadows: A Complete History is an engaging book which deserves to be the benchmark for all future analyses of the Craft." More

Faustus: The Life and Times of a Renaissance Magician"Dr Ruickbie has re-evaluated the Faust tradition from a position of authority. A work of meticulous scholarship that can be read as a gripping page-turner." More


Open Source WiccaHistories of the Barbarians: Vandals, Goths and FranksBeowulf in Anglo-Saxon and English Translation


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February: Imbolc to Terminalia

February is named after the ancient Roman purification festival of Februa and is a time to honour the ancestors and orgiastically invoke the powers of fertility.

Pagan Festivals and Holy Days in February

Introduction

Although February is named after the ancient Roman purification festival of Februa, February is also a month sacred to the gods Mars (as Quirinus, or Romulus) and Juno, the wife of Jupiter. According to Ancient Roman tradition February is a month in which particular reverence was shown to the spirits of deceased ancestors. In a familiar cultural dichotomy in which both death and life were celebrated, this was a month devoted to fertility, both of men and women, and of the land. Many of these rites had residual agricultural overtones. It may be more than coincidence that the dead, who were either buried or considered to be in the 'underworld', and the fruits of agriculture, both relate to the earth. February was the last month in the Roman calendar, but also the beginning of spring: the first day of spring was celebrated on February 5 (the Nones). According to Ovid, the Latin word februa ('the means of purification') derived from an older Etruscan word meaning purgamentum ('purging'). It was accordingly a month of 'spring cleaning' with purifcation and fertility rituals.

The month of February is called Solmonath (meaning 'Sun month') in Anglo-Saxon and was thought to have been dedicated to the Goddess Sjofn. Solmonath notes the gradual return of light after the darkness of midwinter. In modern Asatru calendars February is known as Horning, from Horn, the turn of the year. It is celebrated as a time of purification. February is Saxon cake month, when cakes are offered to the Gods and Goddesses for prosperity and good luck.

Roman Calendar

  • 1: Kalends of February
  • 2: Festival of Juno Februa
  • 5: Nones of February (First Day of Spring)
  • 9: Feast of Apollo
  • 12: Festival of Diana (Luna)
  • 13: Ides of February
          Festivals of Parentalia and the orgiastic festival of Juno Februa begin
  • 14: Orgiastic festival of Juno Februa ends
          Day sacred to Juno-Lupa
  • 15: Lupercalia
  • 17: Fornacalia
  • 18: Rites of Tacita
  • 19: Birth of Minerva
  • 21: Festival of Parentalia ends
          Festival of Feralia
  • 22: Festival of Caristia
  • 23: Festival of Terminalia
  • 24: The Regifugium
  • 27: The Equirria
  • 28: Pridie Kalendas Martius (Day Before the Kalends of March)

Other Dates

  • 1: Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries begin (Ancient Greek)
  • 2: Imbolc (Celtic/Wiccan)
  • 3: Powamu (Hopi). End of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries (Ancient Greek)
  • 6: Festival of Aphrodite (Ancient Greek)
  • 9: Dahini Day (Tibetan)
  • 12: Festival of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon (Ancient Greek)
          Death of Gerald Gardner (Wiccan)
  • 13: Anthesterion Nourmenia - festival honouring all of the Gods and Goddesses (Ancient Greek)
  • 14: St Valentine's Day
          Trifon Zarezan, Festival of Dionysos (Ancient Greek)
          Valisblot, Feast Day of Vali (Norse)
  • 15: Sigfrid's Day (Norse/Odinism)
  • 16: Fumi-e (Japanese)
  • 17: Festival of Shesmu, God of the Wine Press (Ancient Egyptian)
          Festival of Aphrodite and Eros (Ancient Greek)
  • 18: Festival of Artemis (Ancient Greek)
          Spenta Armaiti (Zoroastrian)
  • 25: Day of Nut (Ancient Egyptian)
  • 28: Conception of Buddha (Tibetan)

Anniversaries

Witchcraft Trials

Salem 1692
  • Mid-February, 1692: Doctor Griggs attends the 'afflicted' girls and suggests that witchcraft may be the cause of their strange behaviour.
  • 25th February, 1692: Tituba, at the request of neighbour Mary Sibley, bakes a 'witch cake' made with urine from the bewitched and feeds it to a dog. According to an English folk remedy, this would counteract the spell put on Elizabeth and Abigail.
  • Late-February, 1692: Elizabeth identifies Tituba as her bewitcher under pressure from ministers and townspeople. The girls later accuse Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft.
  • 29th February, 1692: arrest warrants are issued for Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne.

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