29 September 2013

29 September - Michaelmas

“On Mount Gargano, the commemoration of the blessed archangel Michael.  This festival is kept in memory of the day, when under his invocation, was consecrated a church, unpretending in its exterior, but endowed with virtue celestial.”

Weather: If Saint Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.  [not a whole lot of acorns this year… dare I hope?]

If Michaelmas day be fair, the sun will shine much in the winter, though the wind at the northeast will frequently reign long and be very sharp.

If Michael's day is quiet and beautiful, it will last for the next four weeks.

If the wind is out of the north on Michael's day, then October will be dry.

On Michaelmas day, the heat leaves us.

A dark Michaelmas, a light Christmas.

St. Michael's rain does not stay long in the sky.

As many days old as the moon is on Michaelmas, so many floods shall we have after. [the moon will be twenty-four days old this year.  That’s quite a number of floods.]

If it rains on Michaelmas, it will rain up to Christmas.

If there is a gentle rain on St. Michael's day, we can expect a mild winter; but if there is thunder, winter will have heavy winds.

If it does not rain on St. Michael and St. Gallus (October 16), a dry spring is indicated for the next year.

The winds between 6 a.m and 6 p.m. today foretell the character of the winds in the following year. For example, if the wind during the hour of 8 a.m. is heavy and cold, then March will have heavy weather and cold winds.
The winds between 6 am and 7 am indicate the character of January.
Between 7 am and 8 am, that of February,
Between 8 am and 9 am, that of March,
Between 9 am and 10 am, that of April,
Between 10 am and 11 am, that of May,
Between 11 am and 12 noon, that of June,
Between 12 noon and 1 pm, that of July,
Between 1 pm and 2 pm, that of August,
Between 2 pm and 3 pm, that of September,
Between 3 pm and 4 pm, that of October,
Between 4 pm and 5 pm, that of November,
Between 5 pm and 6 pm, that of December.
[and thank goodness there are only 12 months.]

"If thou wilt see how it will go that year, then take heed of the Oak-Apples about S. Michael's day, for by them you shall know how by them it shall be:
If the Apples of the Oak-trees, when they be cut be within full of spiders, then followeth a naughty year [oooo, that sounds like fun]; 
if the Apples have within them Flies, that betokens a meetly good year; 
if they have Maggots in them, then followeth a good year [and a sudden loss of altitude for the apple];
if there be nothing in them, then followeth a great Dearth; 
if the Apples be many, and early ripe, so shall it be an early Winter, and very much snow shall be afore Christmas, and after that it shall be cold; 
if the inner part or kernel be fair and clear, then shall the Summer be fair, and Corn good also; 
but if they be moist, then shall the Summer also be moist; 
if they be lean, then shall there be a hot and dry Summer."
The Husbandman's Practice, or Prognostication for ever

Traditions: Eat a goose on Michaelmas Day to have money in the coming year.  [One roast goose, coming right up!]  And check the wishbone - a dark one means a severe winter coming; if it is light, winter will be mild.

Indeed, today has long been a general festival and feasting day, with the newly harvested crops taking pride of place in the menu. No manual labor was to be done today (other than, of course, getting the feast ready).  Back in the merry days of King Ethelred, the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday preceding the feast of Saint Michael were ordered to be spent in fasting and penance, including fixing meals as though one was going to eat them, and then giving the whole meal to the poor: “Let every priest with his people go in procession three days barefoot, and let every one’s commons for three days be prepared without anything of flesh, as if themselves were to eat it, both in meat and drink, and let all this be distributed to the poor.  Let every servant be excused from labor these three days [that must have made the servants happy!], that he many the better perform his task, or let him work what he will for himself…” Those who broke the fast were fined according to rank:
A thane or nobleman was fined one hundred and thirty shillings.
A poor freeman was fined thirty pence,
And if “a servant break his fast, let him make satisfaction with his hide”
The money so taken was then to be divided among the poor.  No mention of what was done with the poor servant’s hide.

All blackberries should have been gathered by now, for today the Devil passes his hoof over them (or breathes or spits or pees on them) and scorches them. The legend is that when St. Michael tossed the Devil out of Heaven, the Devil fell to earth and landed in a blackberry bush.  Not comfortable on the best of days, and this was already a bad day for Old Scratch.  In his wrath, he cursed the berries by one of the methods above, so that any still left would be poisonous.  Blackberries only, though.  The other edible berries should be just fine, if the birds haven't beaten you to them.

To bring good luck to your homestead, give to the cows a handful of each different sort of grain that you’ve grown this year in their supper tonight, and scatter some on the ground for the birds.

Love charms: Gather crab-apples, carry them to the loft (an attic will do if you haven't a loft) and form them into the initials of possible suitors.  On Old Michaelmas Day (October 10), see which initials are the most perfect.  These are considered to be the strongest attachments and the best for choice of husbands [and the eleven days gives some enterprising young man or woman the chance to nudge the fates in the desired direction]

And once you've got your man:
St. Michael's chair is on St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall.  Tradition asserts that any woman who sat in this chair would ever after rule her husband [ladies, try suggesting St. Michael's Mount for this year's vacation.  Your husband may counter with Nice or Majorca instead.]

Another superstition regarding St. Michael’s Mount is that there is a magic circle traced on its summit, within which demons which have been exorcised from human bodies lie imprisoned in chains.   The unfortunate person who sets foot within this circle will be compelled to run all night until cockcrow without being able to stop.

Gardening: Michaelmas Daisies are one of the joys of my backyard.  They are wild and grow everywhere - lovely violet-colored flowers bravely standing up to the winds of autumn.

The Michaelmas Daisy, among dead weeds,
Blooms for St. Michael's valorous deeds,
And seems the last of flowers that stood
Until the feast of Simon and Jude...



Today is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (and in the new calendar, of Saints Gabriel and Raphael, as well).

From Catholic Culture: "... in our Catholic tradition, St. Michael has four duties: (1) To continue to wage battle against Satan and the other fallen angels; (2) To save the souls of the faithful from the power of Satan especially at the hour of death; (3) To protect the People of God, both the Jews of the Old Covenant and the Christians of the New Covenant; and (4) finally to lead the souls of the departed from this life and present them to our Lord for the particular judgment, and at the end of time, for the final judgment."

That's quite a lot of duties.

Saint Michael is the patron and protector of soldiers and law enforcement officers. In his honor, thank your community's finest, if not in person, then with a note to the nearest precinct or a letter to the editor of the local paper.  Another good way to celebrate the day is by a care package and a note of thanks to the troops.  Local associations which provide these will welcome your donations.

Read more about Saint Michael and the traditions for his day (including recipes for Roast Goose, and St. Michael's Bannock) at Fisheaters and at Catholic Culture. [Use the nuts that you cracked on Crack-Nut Sunday in the stuffing]

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

“St. Michael battling demons”, from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 15th c. Morgan Library, New York.

“St. Michael and other Archangels”, engraving from The Every-day Book and Table Book by William Hone, p. 1327.

“St Michael”, engraving from The Manual of Prayers, 1896.

26 September 2013

26 September - Sts. Cyprian and Justina

In the traditional Calendar, this is the feast of Saint Cyprian the Magician and Saint Justina, virgin and martyr.

“At Nicomedia, the birthday of the holy martyrs Cyprian, and Justina, virgin.  Under the emperor Diocletian and the governor Eutholmius, Justina suffered much for the faith of Christ and converted Cyprian, who, while a magician, endeavored to bring her under the influence of his magical practices.  She afterwards suffered martyrdom with him.  Their bodies being exposed to the beasts, were taken away in the night by some Christian sailors, and carried to Rome.  They were subsequently taken into the Constantinian basilica, and deposited near the baptistery.”

This meager account was supplemented by several stories, which can be found in the Golden Legend.  Accordingly, Justina was a young woman of Antioch, whose father was a pagan priest.  By listening at the window of a Christian priest as he read the Gospels, she was converted.  Her parents also converted (which got Dad tossed out of the Pagan Priests’ union.)

Enter the villain (boo!) – a man called Cyprian, who, from the time his parents had dedicated him to the devil at the age of seven years, had been practicing necromancy and the dark arts.  As you might guess, the beauty and purity of Justina operated powerfully on Cyprian’s libido, and he tried every trick in the book to have a one-night-stand with her.

When that didn’t work, he moved to stronger measures.  He called up a demon – something perhaps of the caliber of Wormwood in The Screwtape Letters – and begged him to find a way that he (Cyprian) could enjoy her.  Impiety gave him an ointment and told him to smear it on Justina’s house.  This would disable any Christian alarm systems, and allow the demon to enter and subtly move her heart towards granting Cyprian’s desires.

But is our heroine so moved?  Not she!  Recognizing temptation when she felt it, she made the Sign of the Cross, causing the demon to flee in terror.  He returned to Cyprian and confessed his failure, and was forthwith fired.
Cyprian, not discouraged by one back-cast, called up a stronger demon, perhaps on the order of Uncle Screwtape, and gave him the same commands.  A demon of more parts than his unsuccessful subaltern, this one didn’t need no stinkin’ ointments but went straight into Justina’s room and hit her with all the weapons at his disposal.  Once again recognizing that she was being tempted to immorality, our heroine jumped into the foxhole of God’s protective love and fired back with the Sign of the Cross, a direct hit which caused the demon to retreat back to Cyprian.

The magician, finally convinced that for a major job you should hire the best, now called up Lucifer himself.  The Father of Lies promised that he would bring Justina (in a proper fever of lust) to Cyprian’s house at midnight and forthwith transformed himself into the semblance of a pious young woman, who came to Justina’s room and begged to live with her in holy chastity.  That, of course, was the chink in our heroine’s armor.  Happy to find a like-minded friend, Justina sat talking of God with Lucifera, until the Evil One, in the same provocative voice he used in the Garden, posed the question: “But did not God command that we should multiply and replenish the earth?  How can we obey God’s word if we remain virgins?  Is that not disobedience to God?”

The devil can quote scripture to his own end, and our heroine nearly fell into that end.  She actually started feeling that her companion might be right, and if so… Widening the chink, Lucifer suggested all sorts of evil thoughts, but in the nick of time Justina came to her right senses and used her customary weapon.  At the Sign of the Cross, the devil fled.

He did not give up, however.  This time, he took on the likeness of a really hot guy, the kind that Hollywood turns out, and relying on his visible charms to overcome her resistance, didn’t bother with first, second, or third base, but jumped straight into her bed for the home run.  Why he thought this would work is anybody’s guess, but Justina didn’t hesitate, and as she finished crossing herself, the handsome bloke melted like wax.  What a mess!

Now the Prince of Demons was really mad!  He smote the city with a great pestilence which killed both men and beasts, and then let it be known through his henchmen that the pestilence would stop if Justina would marry Cyprian.  Naturally a mob (albeit sick and ailing) gathered at her father’s house and threatened to forcibly carry her to the altar, but she prayed for God’s assistance, and the pestilence stopped.

Meanwhile, Cyprian was still waiting for the object of his desires to show up.  Lucifer, at his wits end, was at an impasse.  Mohammed would not go to the mountain… but perhaps a pseudo-Mohammed would do?  He took on the form of Justina, and in this guise went to Cyprian’s house, acting as if he couldn’t wait to engage in the Posturepedic Polka.

The magician was overjoyed!  She was here at last and - glory be! - not only in a receptive mood, but hauling him down the hallway to his bedroom!  He went to embrace ‘her’ saying, “Welcome, Justina, fairest of all women” but even her name was so holy that as it passed his lips, the devil vanished.

Well, you don’t send a boy to do a man’s job.  Cyprian decided to take charge, whereupon he changed himself into a sparrow and flew to Justina’s house.  Each time he did so, his magic failed him as he entered the house, and he regained his Cyprian-shape (and was forced to retreat, discomfited).  Another young man with the same intent and bird characteristics, flew to Justina’s bedroom window, but having landed on the narrow ledge of the blessed house, regained his own manly form.  The ledge on which a sparrow could perch was too small for a man, and he hung there until Justina, afraid that the idiot would kill himself if he fell, caused a ladder to be set up next to him, and charitably warned him as he climbed down not to do such a stupid thing again. (He didn’t.)

Cyprian couldn’t figure it out.  Every trick, every wile, every bit of a necromancer’s art had been used, and Justina was still out of arm’s reach.  Calling back the Prince of Demons, he asked what magic Justina possessed that kept her safe even from the Head Devil himself?  Lucifer had to confess that it was no magic but God, and at the sign of the Crucified Christ, all demons lose their powers and flee.  Cyprian now understood that there is One Who is more powerful than evil, and immediately renounced the Devil and all his works.  As he made the Sign of the Cross, Lucifer departed.  Cyprian also departed in search of a bishop to baptize him.

Eventually, Cyprian and Justina were taken to Nicomedia and condemned to death by the local magistrate for refusing to sacrifice to idols.  After several torments, they were beheaded together.

Reflection.—If the errors and disorders of St. Cyprian show the degeneracy of human nature corrupted by sin, and enslaved to vice, his conversion displays the power of grace and virtue to repair it. Let us beg of God to send us grace to resist temptation, and to do His holy will in all things.
John Gilmary Shea, Pictorial Lives of the Saints, p. 411

“Cyprian and Justina” (and demons), from a 15th century edition of The Golden Legend.  Wikipedia.  In the upper right corner, Cyprian receives the magic ointment from the demon; to his left, a more colorful demon is sent packing by Justina making the Sign of the Cross.  In the foreground, Justina protects herself from two disabled men, possibly part of the mob that would have delivered her up to Cyprian.

08 September 2013

8 September - Saint Adrian

Weather – As the weather is on the day of Mary’s birth, so it will be for four weeks.

Today is best known as the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It is also the memorial of Saint Adrian of Nicomedia.

 “At Nicomedia, St. Adrian, with twenty-three other martyrs, who ended their martyrdom the 4th of March by having their limbs crushed, adfter enduring many torments under the emperors Diocletioan and Maximian.  Their remains were carred to Byzantim by the Christians, and buried with due honors.  Afterwards, the body of St. Adrian was taken to Rome on this day, on which his festival is celebrated.”

Adrian stands tall in the company of military saints and is especially venerated in northern Europe – Germany, northern France, and the Low Countries.  He is commemorated on 4 March, his death day, and 8 September, the day of the translation of his relics.

According to the story (as embellished by The Golden Legend), Adrian was a young man of 28, newly wed (to a closet Christian, if only he knew!), with a home in Nicomedia and a great career ahead of him in the employ of Emperor Galerius Maximian.  One of his jobs as a member of the Praetorian Guards was to supervise the execution of those poor souls convicted of being Christians.  One day, as he oversaw the torture of thirty-three of the wretches, the sight of their devotion and perseverance made him ask what they expected to get out of all this?  To which they answered with a verse from 1 Corinthians: “…That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.”
This operated so powerfully on the young man that he converted on the spot.  Stepping into the midst of the broken bodies, he declared that he too was a Christian.

As you might guess, the emperor was annoyed.  This time, when the guards left the jail cell, Adrian didn’t go with them.

Wife Natalie, however, was overjoyed.  She ran to the prison to cheer her husband on his martyrdom journey.  After kissing his chains and reminding him to keep his mind on the glory of heaven, she went home and waited to hear what day he would be executed.

Adrian found out what day, and by dint of bribing his old jailhouse friends, was allowed to go home and give the good news to his wife.  She, not knowing that he had left pledges of money against his return to jail, immediately jumped to the conclusion that he had reneged on his conversion.  Well really!  Barring the door against him, she said, “God forbid that I speak to the mouth of him that denied his Lord!”  God didn’t forbid, and she certainly told her husband what she thought of him, calling him a wretch and a coward and a felon, not to mention a Judas!  And what about her? Married to a felon!  For a little while, she thought she was going to be the wife of a martyr, but now she would be reproached as the wife of a renegade!  And if he tried to enter the house, she would kill herself, and then he would be sorry! And blah, blah, blah…

When Adrian could get a word in edgewise, he explained to her just how it was, whereupon she was all smiles again, and returned to the jail with him to continue her ministry of cheerful fortitude.  Once the emperor found out that women were comforting the prisoners, he forbade them to continue, but he was no match for Natalie!  She shaved her head and put on men’s clothes and continued to visit the prison.

After torturing Adrian and the other 33, the emperor decided to make an end of them (but not too quickly).  He decreed that their limbs should be broken and struck off on an anvil.  And so it was.  Second to last of Adrian’s body parts to be removed were his hands – once that was done, the executioner struck off his head with a sword.  Natalie secretly took one of her late husband’s hands and kept it on her night-table.  The rest of the 34 bodies were hidden until they could be taken to Constantinople, where they stayed until the persecutions ended and it was safe to translate the relics to Rome.

Adrian is a patron of soldiers, jailers, and executioners, and was invoked against plague.  Several 19th century sources claimed that he was also the patron of Flemish brewers, but I can’t find any corroboration of that.  Doesn’t matter.  Can’t have too many saints protecting the suds.

I suppose, as he is a military saint, the proper meal for today would be C-Rats – I think they are called MREs now (“Meal, Ready-to-Eat”).  They are still sold in the Commissary, but I don’t think a walk down memory lane – at least that particular memory – is in order here. (C-rats and a beer – now that’s military!)

There are also those perennial mess-hall favorites – SOS (Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast) and Bug Juice (something liquid from a powder, usually greenish).

Today would be a good day to thank a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or coast guardsman for putting their lives on the line.  Check out Soldiers' Angels to adopt a serviceperson or a veteran.  The Angels do good work, collecting and posting letters and care packages, and they can always use another pair of willing hands or a donation.

Artwork:  “Saint Adrian” from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 15th century. Morgan Library, New York.  He’s holding the sword and the anvil – instruments of his martyrdom.

01 September 2013


"The name comes from the Latin septimus, "seventh," because under the ten-month calendar, and afterwards under the reckoning which made March the beginning of the year, September was the seventh month. After July and August (originally Quintilis, "fifth," and Sextilis, "sixth") had been so named in honor of Julius Caesar and Augustus, several Roman Emperors sought to give their names to September, but in this case the innovation did not survive.  Julius Caesar gave September thirty-one days in his revision of the calendar, but it was subsequently reduced to thirty days by Augustus, who changed the length of all the months after August in order to give his titular month the same length as July."

"The Saxons called September Gerstmonath, or Barley-Month, this crop, from which their favorite beverage was brewed, being then gathered. It is still called Herbstmonat, or Harvest Month, in Switzerland. The harvest-moon comes in this month, being the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox.  For several evenings the moon rises near sunset, thus enabling the harvesters to extend their day's work." William Shepard Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 873 (1898).

Marry in September's shine
Your living will be rich and fine.
Astronomy for September: The full moon this month, on the 19th, is known as the Harvest Moon.

Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon, up in the sky…

Autumn arrives at 4:44 pm on September 22nd with the equinox.

September is dedicated to The Seven Sorrows of Mary

Ember Days: September 18, 20, and 21

Liturgical Celebrations
3   St. Gregory the Great, Pope 
8   Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
9   St. Peter Claver
12  Most Holy Name of Mary (Sunday within the Octave, Old Calendar)
13  St. John Chrysostom
14  Exaltation of the Holy Cross
15  Our Lady of Sorrows (3rd Sunday in September, Old Calendar)
16  Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian
17  St. Robert Bellarmine
18  St. Joseph of Cupertino
19  St. Januarius
20  St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon and companions, martyrs
21  St. Matthew, Apostle
23  St. Pio of Pietrelcina
24  Our Lady of Ransom
26  Sts. Cosmas and Damian  (25th in Canada)
26  Sts. John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, martyrs  (Canada)
27  St. Vincent de Paul
28  St. Wenceslaus
29  St. Michael, Archangel
30  St. Jerome  

Novenas for September
Maria Bambina                           continues from 30 August
Exaltation of the Holy Cross       begins 5 September
Vincent de Paul                           begins 18 September
Michael the Archangel                begins 20 September
Holy Angels                                 begins 20 September
Thérèse of Lisieux                       begins 22 September
Francis of Assisi                          begins 25 September
Faustina Kowalska                      begins 26 September
Our Lady of the Rosary               begins 28 September

Weather for September
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Cool, with bright sunshine and clear skies.
Based on the first 12 days of January: Mostly cloudy and warm.
Based on the Ember Days: Overcast and chilly.

Maybe a little of each?

Weather Lore for September
September blow soft,
‘Til the fruit's in the loft.

As September, so the coming March.

When September has been rainy, the following May is generally dry; and when May is dry, the following September is apt to be wet.

A wet September means drought for next summer, famine, and no crops.
Heavy September rains bring drought.
on the other hand
Rain in September is good for the farmer, but poison to the vine-growers.
September rain is good for crops and vines and much liked by the farmer.
[I think it depends on how much and how heavy the rain]

If the storms of September clear off warm, all the storms of the following winter will be warm.

If a cold spell occurs in September and passes without a frost, there will be no frost until the same time in October.

Thunder in September indicates a good crop of grain and fruit for the next year.

Thunder in September means snow in February and March and a large crop of grapes.

There are generally three consecutive windy days about the middle of September.

9/1 - Fair on September 1st, fair for the month

9/6 - As the weather is on the 6th, so it will be for the next four weeks.

9/8 - As the weather is n the day of Mary's birth, so it will be for four weeks.

9/9 - If it is fine on St. Gorgonius' day, it will continue fine for forty days.

         If it rains on St. Gorgonius' day, there will be much bad weather in October.

9/14 - No rain on Holy Cross, no rain for six weeks [which is a good thing while we are still harvesting]

          If dry be the buck's horn on Holyrood morn,
          'Tis worth a kist [chest] of gold;
          But if wet be seen ere Holyrood e'en,
          Bad harvest is foretold.

           If the hart and the hind meet dry and part dry on Rood Day fair,
           For six weeks, of rain there'll be nae mair [no more].

           There are generally three consecutive windy days about the middle of September.

9/15 - September 15th is fine six years out of seven.

9/18 – Ember Day.  The weather today indicates the weather of October.

9/19 - If on September 19th, there is a storm from the south, a mild winter may be expected.
[If on September 19th, there is a storm from the south, it is liable to be a hurricane]

9/20 – Ember Day.  The weather today indicates the weather of November.

9/20-22 - September 20, 21, and 22 rule the weather for October, November, and December.

9/21 - St. Matthew's day bright and clear
           Brings good wine in the next year.

           St. Matthew
           Brings the cold dew.

           On St. Matthee,
           Shut up the bee.

           After St. Matthew you will not see many fine days.

           A south wind on September 21st indicates that the rest of autumn will be warm.

            Ember Day.  The weather today indicates the weather of December.

9/22 - If there is clear weather on St. Maurice's day, heavy winds will rage in the following winter.

           The first three days of any season rule the weather for that season.

           As the wind and weather at the equinoxes, so will they be for the next three months.

            If the weather is quiet for the week before the autumn equinox and the week after, the temperature will continue higher than usual into the winter.

            As the equinoctial storms clear, so will all storms clear for the next six months.

             Winds that blow in the daytime near the equinox generally hush towards evening.

9/29 - On Michaelmas day, the heat leaves us.

           If St. Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.

           At Michaelmas, if the wind be low
           Look out for frost, if not for snow.

           A dark Michaelmas, a light Christmas.

           If it rains on Michaelmas, it will rain up to Christmas.

           As many days old as the moon is on Michaelmas day, so many floods shall we have after. [This year, the moon will be 24 days old on Michaelmas.  Might want to consider building an ark.]

            If Michaelmas day be fair, the sun will shine much in the winter, though the wind at the northeast will frequently reign long and be very sharp.

             If there is a gentle rain on St. Michael's day, we can expect a mild winter; but if there is a thunderstorm, the winter will have heavy winds.

             St. Michael’s rain does not stay long in the sky.

            If it does not rain on St. Michael and on St. Gallus (October 16), a dry Spring is indicated for the next year.

Farming and Gardening:

The Passion Flower long has blowed
To betoken us signs of the Holy Rood           (Sep 14)
The Michaelmas Daisy, among dead weeds
Blooms for St. Michael’s valorous deeds.     (Sep 29)

September rain is good for the crops.

Preserve your fodder in September and your cow will fatten.

9/1 - St. Giles finishes the walnuts.

9/14 - It was traditional to go nutting today. 

           On Holy Cross Day
           Vineyards are gay.

9/21 – St. Matthew’s rain fattens pigs and goats.

9/29 - Pick your blackberries before Michaelmas.  The Devil passes his hoof over them (or does something nastier) and scorches them today.

Cassell’s Illustrated almanac 1871 for September:
Flowers.—Sow hardy annuals, for bloom in the following year. Clarkias, nemophilas, gilias, &c., are well suited for this purpose. Collect and dry your flower seeds, labeling them, when necessary, with height of the plants and color of the flowers. Look to your edgings of box, &c., which may now be repaired or replaced. Begin the planting of snowdrops, narcissus, &c.
Vegetables.—Hoe weeds from all parts of the vegetable garden. Thin out turnips, winter spinach, and all crops that are sufficiently forward. Gather articles for pickling and preserving, and remove all kinds of decaying or useless vegetation. Take up potatoes, and store away those intended for seed, first drying them in the sun.
Fruit.— Strawberry runners may still be planted. Old raspberry canes should be cat down, leaving only the new wood. Cut back gross shoots from wall-fruit trees of all kinds. To tell whether fruit is thoroughly ripe for picking, raise it gently with the hand, when the stalk will leave the tree at once if it is in fit condition.

The 1817 Almanac advises the farmer to “Plant Liquorice Roots about two Feet asunder, in rather moist Earth.  Set Artichokes, and sow Seeds for Winter Herbs.  Sow Wheat and Rye.  Cut Quicks towards the End of the Month.  Plant Evergreens.
Sow Parsnips and Carrots in a free open Air, and rather most Soil.
Remove and set Slips of Flowers.  Set Rows of Strawberries and Barberries.
Gather Fruits as they ripen, on a dry Day, and lay them up carefully.  Prepare Ground for planting.”

September. Limbourg frères. Grandes Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry, Fifteenth century.
The calendar pages of the Grandes Heures carried more religious symbolism than that of the more famous Très Riches Heures.  Each month was dedicated to a part of the Apostles Creed, with the relevant prophecy from the Old Testament and scripture from the New Testament.  September is dedicated to the article of the Creed which says “…I believe…in the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints…”.  Here we see (left to right) Saint Paul instructing a group of women (the caption above says “Thymotheus”, so young Timothy may be somewhere in that group) from Colossians 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church…”.  Our Lady stands above the battlements of the New Jerusalem, holding a banner with a depiction of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove [once again, the artists are behind by a month, and will be for the rest of the year].  Beneath the arc of heaven where the sun continues its decline, a fashionable young woman holds the scales of Libra, astrological symbol of September, and contemplates the grape-laden vines, now ready for harvesting.

Adriaen Isanbrandt, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, 16th century.  Church of Our Lady, Bruges.  Wikipedia

September. Limbourg frères. Grandes Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry, Fifteenth century.
Depicted at the bottom of the calendar pages in the Grandes Heures is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament by the articles of the Apostles Creed.  In each, a prophet (cloaked to show the obscurity of prophecy) takes a stone out of the building representing the Old Law and offers it to an apostle, who, by raising the cloak ‘uncovers’ the prophecy with an article of faith.  Here, the Prophet Micah holds a banderole with the words “…that all may call upon the name of the Lord, and may serve him...”  (Zephaniah 3:9), while behind him, the ruined walls of the Old Law totter precariously; meanwhile St. Matthew the Apostle (whose feast occurs this month) presents the relevant part of the Apostle’s Creed, “…the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints…”

September. Hunting – Pasturing Swine. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898), p. 874