The 12 Months Symbolism and Meaning:
Birthstones, Zodiac Signs, Flowers, Numerology & More!
Nearly every Witch or Wiccan knows about the 8 major holidays of the year. Knowledge of the way in which moon cycles influence our magic is also widely available. In fact, the world of magic is filled to overflowing with symbolism that we use in supporting our spells and rituals, especially in timing them. This is where the importance of Monthly meanings comes into play.
The ancients gave months specific names, many of which reflected various Divine entities or important observances during that month on the Roman calendar. Since the calendar structure changed in 450 BCE to what we now utilize, some of those naming protocols aren’t quite accurate. Nonetheless we can look at the historical context and get some ideas for devising our Wheel of the Year around the meaning and symbolism of the progression of months.
You will be able to find detailed information on each month in the pages that follow in this series. This, however, gives you an inspirational starting point. Sometimes its fun to begin your research with your birth month, or that of someone you know. Just as with the Zodiac Signs, some of the characteristics of our birth month often flow into our personality traits and behaviors.
The Month of January Symbolism & Meanings
January derives its name from a Deity, Janus. This attention-grabbing figure from mythology has two faces, and not in the negative connotation of that description we think of today. Rather, Janus looked to the past for perspective and to the future for hope. The duality of this God meshes perfectly with the end of one year and the beginning of the next.
Consider Janus’ attributes during this month as a starting point for magic. His domain includes beginnings and endings, change, war and peace, birth and death and generally all the human dualities and transitions. Interestingly enough Janus also presided over travel, trade exchanges and shipping. The Romans often invoked him at the beginning of every ritual, no matter the time of year.
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The Month of February Symbolism & Meanings
Moving into February, we have a month dedicated to purification. The Roman festival of Februa, also called Lupercalia, began as a means of insuring health and fertility, banishing and protecting the region from malevolent entities and cleansing the city. The observance itself was held on the 15th. From a Roman perspective, February was the last month of the year and they wanted to literally take out the bad, and bring in the good.
Two key Deities come into play as part of this annual event: Lupercus and Juno Febrata (Februtis). Romans portrayed Lupercus as the protector of shepherds and flocks with a Dog as his sacred animal. The festival of Lupercus was held in a cave sanctuary displaying a figure of the God in goatskin. For modern magic we might interpret flocks as our personal circles. Juno Febrata was an aspect of Juno connected with fertility and purification.
An interesting note about this festival comes to us from Plutarch. He observed that they Day of Purification had some unusual rituals. One involved a person being massaged with puppies (we could live with that!). More than likely this developed in conjunction with the idea of energy transference. Once the ritual was done, the puppies neatly ran off with any negativity gathered from the activity.
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The Month of March Symbolism & Meanings
March was named after a God of war, Mars (also known in Greece as Ares). Among the regional Gods, Mars was second only to Jupiter. As a military Deity he reigned supreme.
Mars’ power wasn’t seen as destructive. Rather, Romans honored conflict as a means of gaining lasting peace. In terms of the cultural characteristics of Rome, the importance of Mars is unrivaled. There were at least five holidays honoring Mars during March, most of which included some type of chariot races and ritual workings that protected the armies. With all this in mind, March is a good month for tackling a battle in your life by spiritual means.
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The Month of April Symbolism & Meanings
Starting off on a lovely note, April is Aphrodite’s month. She was the goddess of all things beautiful in Greece as well as a governess of love and romance. Her Roman counterpart is Venus.
In Greek Mythology Aphrodite has a reputation for wanton behavior. She had many lovers besides her husband, Hephaestus. One of her more notable consorts was non-other than Aries. In some writings Aphrodite became the protector of prostitutes giving rise to the idea of sacred prostitution versus the infamous vestal virgin.
Magically April holds great potential for devising women’s empowerment spells and rituals, particularly when it comes to sex and pleasure. It is also a month for magic focused on love and romance.
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The Month of May Symbolism & Meanings
May’s name comes from the Italian Goddess of spring, Maia, who was the wife of Vulcan. Maia is the eldest of the 7 sisters that comprise the Pleiades. She is a nymph and the daughter of Atlas. Both Greeks and Romans saw Maia as a nurturing force, filled with warmth and plenty. Her name means “Great one” This might be a good month to focus on self-care or warming up a cool relationship.
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The Month of June Symbolism & Meanings
From Maia we move toward the Goddess Juno, the wife (and sister) of Jupiter for whom June was named.
She was the most important Goddess in Rome. Juno is an energetic goddess with eternal youth. Her Greek name is Hera. She is said to protect the sovereignty of Rome and aid with fertility. This description is very limited at best.
Juno was a very complex character throughout Roman myths. She had numerous names, each of which gives us greater insight into her powers.
Juno Sospita watched over pregnant women and children. Juno Lucina seemed connected to Sospita in that she insured safe births. Juno Moneta protects money, and there are at least another dozen epithets
From this description, June seems to be a month focused on children and planning a family. You might also consider magic aimed at symbolic fruitfulness such as abundant productiveness.
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The Month of July Symbolism & Meanings
The 3rd quarter of the Wheel of the Year begins with July. The month’s name was a nod toward, and in honor of, Julius Caesar. A brilliant military strategist, Julius Caesar brought Rome from a republic to being an Empire. His leadership was vital to Rome’s expansion, and his writings continue to give us insights into the life and times of Roman citizens. His most famous quote: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” With this in mind, the month named after him could support energy for victory and expanding personal horizons.
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The Month of August Symbolism & Meanings
Similar to July, August also had another Roman leader for whom its named, Augustus Caesar. While not really being the “fighting type” Augustus managed to expand the Roman Empire into Egypt, Spain and the Balkans. It seems that some elite in Rome were not pleased with his line, as many of his heirs went missing under very suspicious circumstances. Nonetheless his reign was one of relative peace. So perhaps this month’s motto might be “make peace not war” (but we are not sure Romans would approve).
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The Month of September Symbolism & Meanings
By September, creativity surrounding the months’ names waned. September comes from a word meaning seven, because it was originally the 7th month on the calendar. You can consider the Numerology of the number 7 (seeking and thinking vibes) or the number 9 (wisdom and beginnings) for underlying energetic patterns this month. Virgos and Libras celebrate birthdays in September and in the United States it is designated as the National All-American Breakfast Month (bacon and eggs anyone?).
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The Month of October Symbolism & Meanings
The name October proves no more exciting than September. It means simply the 8th month. You might consider this number 8 (business & career) as an alternative to 10 (Karma and the Law of Return) in Numerology when investigating this month’s energies. Libra and Scorpio enjoy birthdays this month. The Southern Hemisphere is enjoying April-like weather while those in the North start gathering warm sweaters. The United States designates this as National Cookie Month and National Seafood month.
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The Month of November Symbolism & Meanings
Not to sound totally repetitive, November was named as the ninth month of the Julian calendar. Numerology tells us the sacred Number nine focuses on perception and fresh starts, while it’s modern number eleven, a Master Number, symbolizes faith and instinct. The Anglo Saxons called November the wind month, while in the US it is National Good Nutrition Month.
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The Month of December Symbolism & Meanings
Finally we wrap up the year with December, “deco” the tenth month on the Julian calendar. In Numerology 10 reminds us that what we sew, we reap. Meanwhile number 12 for our current calendar system represents completions and new beginnings. Sagittarius and Capricorn have birthdays this month, and December is also a time when numerous holidays and festivals occur around the world.
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