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The magic of Leap Year

 The perfect, elusive day to leap over any hurdles in your life!

 

Snowdrops

What is Leap Year?


Leap Year occurs every four years, when an additional day – February 29th – is added to the shortest month of the calendar.

This happens because the (current, Gregorian) calendar year (365 days) doesn’t quite match to the solar year (365 and a quarter days) so every four years, that extra time is put into an extra day to balance things out and make our calendar line up better with the seasons. If we didn’t have Leap Years, the additional time would add up each year and by the time a century had passed our Gregorian calendar would be out of synch with the seasons by a whole month!


The fact that it takes the earth a little bit more than 365 days to orbit the sun was noticed thousands of years ago, by the Ancient Egyptians. The Romans first added a Leap Year to the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE. The calendar we use today was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory VIII as a modification of the Julian calendar in order to align Easter with the spring equinox.

 

Amethyst and clear quartz point pendant

Leap Year symbolism

Leap Year shares much of its symbolism with Imbolc and the coming of spring.

 

Animals: Sheep and cows, rabbits, hare, deer, otters and foxes, robins and owls.


Deities: Brigid, Branwen, Diana, Selene, Eros, Aphrodite, Venus, Persephone, Demeter, Mars, Pan.


Trees and flowers: Cedar, pine, cypress, rowan and laurel, primrose, heather, snowdrops, jasmine, wisteria and lemon balm.


Herbs and spices: Nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil and bay leaves, pine needles and resin, anise, myrrh, hyssop, sandalwood and frankincense.


Food: Grains, seeds, bread, potatoes, herbs, spices and citrus fruits.


Crystals: Angelite, clear quartz, rose quartz, citrine, amethyst, fluorite, aquamarine, garnet, ruby, bloodstone, turquoise, jasper, pyrite, black tourmaline, onyx and selenite.

 

Colours associated with Leap Year are white, grey, pale yellow, pale green, blue, purple, pink, gold and silver.


 

Leap Year traditions


Do people born on a Leap Year only get a birthday every four years? Well – most people born on February 29th choose to celebrate their birthday on February 28th or March 1st each year. They are known as Leaplings and can be considered lucky or unlucky for their birth date, depending on how you choose to see it!

 

In the past, it was believed in Greece and Scotland to be unlucky to marry on February 29th. But there was also the historical belief, in England and Ireland, that February 29th was the one day of the year that a woman could propose to a man rather than the historical norm of a man proposing to a woman.

 

Nowadays (as well as having socially progressed in terms of marriage proposals!) people tend to believe that February 29th is lucky – after all, it is a rare and special day, only coming around infrequently – and the perfect day to increase your luck and perform magical workings.

 

How you can celebrate Leap Year


February trees lit up with golden sunlight

February 29th, being such a rare date, has special, liminal qualities that make it the perfect time for performing magic. The liminality of the day means that the veil between worlds is especially thin – like it is around Samhain and Beltane - and makes it a great time for communication and divination spells.

 

On a Leap Year, you could take the opportunity to work on:

 

Long-term spells and goals: As this opportunity only comes around every four years, Leap Day is a great time to start a long-term spell or working, or set a long-term intention, with Leap Year energy adding extra significance and power to your workings. Such long-term commitments could be something like health, wellness or meditation goals.

 

Start something: This is an extra, bonus day in the year, so it’s perfect for starting something special – such as a new journal, Book of Shadows, project or learning a new skill or technique – or doing something you’ve been putting off, such as breaking a negative or unwanted habit. It’s also a great time to plant seeds, both literal and metaphorical.


Be brave: Take a leap of faith! Challenge yourself to do something you’ve wanted to do for a while, or try something new. Trust in new or extraordinary opportunities and have faith in your abilities and skills. It’s also a great day to enchant for courage, tenacity and bravery, or to make charms and talismans for courage.

 

Find lost objects: As February 29th regularly ‘disappears’, the date has the perfect, unique energy to aid in spells to find lost things.


Banishing: As Leap Days 'disappear', this lends any banishing spell cast on this date extra power. February 29th 2024 has a waning moon, which also adds to the potency of any banishment working to rid you of anything in your life which no longer benefits you.

 

Communication: This most liminal of days heightens psychic abilities as the veil between worlds thins. Perform divination or scrying on a Leap Day, or connect to the spirit world. It’s also the perfect day on which to contact the world of fairy, leave offerings and let your local Folk know that you are thinking of them.

 

Commune with nature: February 29th is the day when the calendar is reset and our lives are realigned with the planet’s natural cycles. Take some time out to reconnect with nature and the seasons, and ground yourself with a walk amongst the trees.



 

Whatever your plans for 2024’s bonus day, we hope that you have a magical time!



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