01 November 2013


"This name signifies the ninth month, which position it occupied in the ten-month calendar ascribed to Romulus.  The name was retained when two additional months were added.  The Emperor Tiberius was born in this month.  Hence the Senate wished to give it his name, following the precedent set by Augustus, but he declined the honor, saying, “What will you do, conscript fathers, when you have thirteen Caesars?"

“It was the Windmonath or Wind Month, of the Saxons, who knew it also as Blotmonath, for this was the month when cattle, pigs, and sheep were slaughtered and preserved for the winter's meals.”  Now begin the days of salting, smoking, and pickling the larger cuts of meat, while the scrapings go into sausages and head-cheese.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member, 
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds - 

Astronomy for November   

Fall Back!  Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 AM on Sunday, the 3rd, for those who follow it.  Put your clocks back one hour before you go to bed Saturday night [and gain an hour of sleep, if you don’t have animals whose stomach clocks take priority over your alarm clock.]

The full moon on the 17th is the Full Beaver Moon (also known as the Full Frost Moon). 

A total eclipse of the sun on the 3rd.  Visible from Africa.  Eastern North Americans can see the tail-end at sunrise.

Meteor Showers   
The South Taurid Meteor Shower  peaks after midnight on November 4th and 5th.  There won’t be any moonlight to mar the enjoyment, so even though this isn’t one of the larger showers, bundle up and go watch.

The waxing half moon rises between 1 and 2 pm and sets after midnight on November 11th and after 1 am on the 12th, the peak time of the North Taurid Meteor Shower , so wait for the moon to set before you bundle up again and go outside.  Take a thermos of hot cider with you.

This year is a bust for the Leonid Meteor Shower.  The moon is at full on the 17th, and will drown out all but the brightest shooting stars during the peak on November 16 – 17.

See EarthSky's Meteor Shower Guide for a list of upcoming showers.

November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. 

EWTN has a novena for them and for us.  It takes nine days (nov = nine), so I start on the 1st, start over again on the 10th, and again on the 19th, making the entire month one of prayer. On the 28th, I triple the prayers, so that that the nine prayers are again said on the final three days.

And if that is too much, try to find time each day to say Saint Gertrude's Prayer:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

 Liturgical Celebrations
All Saints                             1 November
All Souls                              2 November
St. Martin de Porres             3 November
St. Charles Borromeo          4 November
Dedication of St. John Lateran (Lateran Basilica)  9 November
St. Martin of Tours             11 November
St. Josephat                         12 November
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini  13 November
St. Albert the Great             14 November
St. Margaret of Scotland     16 November
St. Gertrude                         16 November
St Rose Philppine Duchesne  18 November
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary  21 November
St. Cecilia                             22 November
St Clement                            23 November
St. Columban                         23 November
Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro  23 November
Christ the King                      24 November (new calendar)
St Catherine of Alexandria    25 November
St, Andrew, Apostle              30 November

Novenas for November
Holy Souls in Purgatory  .......... continues from 24 October
Saint Martin de Porres .............. continues from 25 October
Saint Hilda …………………… begins 8 November
Christ the King ........................   begins 15 November
The Miraculous Medal ………. begins 18 November
Saint Francis Xavier  …………  begins 24 November
Saint Nicholas ………………..  begins 27 November
The Immaculate Conception …. begins 29 November
Advent Novena .......................... begins 30 November

Dull November brings the blast
Then the leaves are whirling fast. 

Weather for November 
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Clear skies and very cold. 
Based on the first 12 Days of January: Overcast and cool. 
Based on the Ember Days:  Bright, clear, warm.

[Perhaps a little of each?]
Weather Lore for November: 

If the latter end of October and the beginning of November be for the most part warm and rainy, then January and February are likely to be frosty and cold. [A pretty safe bet, no matter what the weather of October and November]

And vice versa:
If October and November are cold, then the following January and February will be mild and dry.

If the robin becomes more familiar than usual at the fall of the year, a severe winter may be expected [I have a couple who sit outside the window and complain that I haven’t filled the feeders.  Is that familiar enough?]

Ice in November brings mud in December.

If there's ice in November that will bear a duck, there will be nothing at Christmas but mud and muck.

Flowers in bloom late in autumn indicate a bad winter [even if the bad winter won’t show up until the following year]

As in November, so the following March.

A heavy November snow will last until April.

Thunder in November, a fertile year to come.

A wet November, a plentiful year.

11/1 - If All Saints' Day will bring out the winter, Saint Martin's Day will bring out Indian Summer (and vice versa)

         All Saints’ Day has a little summer of three days. When it is warm at this time of year, it is called “All Saints’ Rest”.

         If on All Saints’ Day the beechnut be found dry, we shall have a hard winter; but if the nut be wet and not light, we may expect a wet winter.

         As on November 1st, so is the winter.

11/4 – If it storms on the first Sunday of the month, it will storm every Sunday.

11/10 – The weather on Martinmas Eve is supposed to indicate the weather for the winter, and where the wind is, there it will be for the coming winter.

            If there is a frost before Martinmas, the winter will be mild.

11/11 – Around St. Martin’s day, we can expect some warm weather.  This is called St. Martin’s Summer.
            At St. Martin’s Day, winter is on his way.

            If ducks do slide at Martintide, at Christmas they will swim;
            If ducks do swim at Martintide, at Christmas they will slide.

            If the geese stand on ice, they will walk in mud at Christmas.

            If Martinmas is fair, dry, and cold, the cold in winter will not last long.

           If the wind is in the south-west at Martinmas, it remains there until after Christmas (Candlemas for the optimists), and we shall have a mild winter up to then and no snow to speak of.

           Wind north-west at Martinmas, severe winter to come.

           If the leaves of the trees and grape vines do not fall before Martin’s Day, a cold winter may be expected.

           If this day be fair, the next winter will bring but little rain and snow along with it; but if the first half of the day be clear and the other half cloudy, the beginning of winter will accordingly be fair, but its end and spring will turn out rigorous and disagreeable.

11/21 - As November 21st, so is the winter.

11/25 - As at Catherine foul or fair, so will be next February.
            As on Saint Catherine, so will be the New Year.

            If there is snow on St. Catherine’s day, winter will be hard.

November take flail,
Let no more ships sail.

Farming and Gardening for November

"The business of the garden this month is principally in preparing manure, making all clean and neat, and defending plants against the coming frosts."

Thunder in November, a fertile year to come.

A wet November, a plentiful year.

When in November the water rises, it will show itself the whole winter.

11/1 - Set trees at Allhallowtide, and command them to prosper; Set them after Candlemas, and entreat them to grow.

           If the weather holds clear on the first of November, sow the last of your wheat for the year.

           Begin making cider today

11/5 – Tulips should be planted today.  In fact, if the weather holds, and you have not already done so, now is a good time to dig up, separate, and replant any spring-flowering bulbs – tulips, daffodils, narcissus, hyacinths, etc.

11/9 – Plant raspberry canes today.

The 1817 Almanac advises the gardener: "If the season proves mild, you may continue to prune Apple Trees, be they Standards, Wall Fruit, or Espaliers; but you should not prune them later, lest Rains and Frosts should hurt the Trees, when the Wounds are fresh.”

“Trench your Ground, by laying it up in Ridges to mellow.  Set Crab-Tree Stocks to graft on; continue to plant Suckers and Cuttings of Gooseberries, Currants and Raspberries; make Hot-beds for Asparagus; fell Coppices, and lop Trees, plant Timber and Fruit-Trees, if the Weather be open."

Cassell’s Illustrated Almanac 1871 for November
Flowers —Plant hyacinths early in the month, and tulips should also be in the first week, if possible. Climbing plants and flowering shrubs may now be obtained and planted. Take up dahlias; watch any plants you may have in pits, giving them light and air freely on the few milder days of the month, and carefully covering them again as soon as the sun goes down.

Vegetables —A sowing of early beans may now be made, at a depth of about two inches, and when they rise they must be well protected with litter. Clear away all decayed leaves from your young crops, and keep the ground well cleaned between the plants. Cover over the crowns of rhubarb and seakale with dry dung, sand, or some similar material.

Fruit —The pruning and transplanting of fruit trees should now be completed. Newly-planted trees of a tender kind should be well protected against frost, and fruit trees on walls may now be freely pruned, and their training attended to.

… Mushrooms and the Fungus race,
That grow as Allhallowtide takes place.   (Nov 1)
Soon the evergreen Laurel alone is seen,
When Catherine crowns all learned men.    (Nov 25)

Health Advice for November 

"The best Physic this Month is good Exercise, warm Clothes, and wholesome Diet.  But if any Distemper afflict you, finish your Physic this Month, and so rest till March."

November. 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. November is dedicated to the article of the Creed which says “…I believe in… the resurrection of the body…”.  Here we see (left to right) Saint Paul instructing Philemon and his companions from Corinthians 15:51: “…we shall all indeed rise again…”.  Above the gates of the New Jerusalem, Our Lady holds a banner depicting the Hand of God returning the soul of a righteous man to his body [the artists have finally caught up].  Beneath the arc of heaven, Sagittarius, the Archer, astrological symbol of November, fires an arrow at the trees whose leaves are dying and falling off.

“All Souls”, woodcut from a Dutch copy of The Golden Legend, 1489.

November. 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 cupolas of the citadel of the Old Law have fallen and the walls have been breached, while before it the Prophet Ezekiel stands holding a banderole with the words “…I… will bring you out of your sepulchers, my people…” (Ezekiel 37:12).  St. Thaddeus the Apostle presents the relevant part of the Apostle’s Creed, “…the resurrection of the body…”

November – Group Around a Fire. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898), p. 755