Posted Under Paganism & Witchcraft

Mythology for Every Day of the Week

Magical Candles

We are surrounded by mythical connections every day—the most obvious is in the names of our days of the week. This may not be news to you, but in exploring the details of each name we strengthen our connection to our daily spiritual and magical practices by incorporating aspects of mythology.

To discover the origins, we need to begin in ancient Babylonia, the place where many things started. They're the ones who decided to name heavenly bodies after their deities. They only knew of five celestial bodies at that time, and so chose the sun and moon for the other two names. Later, the Romans took up this similar custom of naming the celestial bodies for deities, followed by the Germanic-speaking people. The Germanic peoples used their deities' names instead and, since English is a Germanic language, we have the origin of our weekday names. This is a somewhat over-simplified explanation, but it's basically what happened.

Let's take a closer look at the characters behind the names in an effort to remind us of the qualities that each day honors. In this way, we keep our connection to these influences and can easily incorporate this energy into our magical lives each day. In addition, for each day there is a brief affirmation intended to celebrate that day's particular energy and a list of magical correspondences for rituals or spells to create a week filled with magic. You can simply wear the colors or stones of the day, eat associated herbs/plants, or take advantage of the day's particular scent using aromatherapy or incense.

These lists are brief and only touch the surface of ways to discover mythology each day. But when we look back at the stories and characters that inspire so much of our lives, we are reminded of our connectedness with all things—all people—and the universe itself.

Sunday: The Sun
Sunday is obviously named for the sun. The life-sustaining sun has, naturally, inspired sun-worship in many societies around the world. As with the moon, many mysteries have been revealed about just what kind of celestial body the sun is, and that there are many stars like it in the universe. Still, that doesn't change the fact that it's essential for our life here on earth. Many deities are associated with the sun, both gods and goddesses alike. In Japan, the sun goddess Amaterasu hides herself, plunging the world into darkness, and must be coaxed back out into the world. And in Maori myth, the demi-god Maui snares the sun to regulate its movement across the sky.

A variety of myths from Native American nations tell stories about animal trickster figures interacting with the sun and moon causing the days or seasons to come into being. In a Zuni myth the sun and moon are contained in boxes but Coyote opens the boxes at the wrong time, causing the season of winter. A Tahltan story tells of Raven bringing light to the world so people could have division between day and night, work and rest.

In Greece and Rome, the god Apollo was associated with the Sun. He's the only deity whose name remained the same in Rome as in Greece. He is associated with prophecy, music, healing, and poetry, and many other things. In addition, Helios was a sun god of the Greeks. No matter which sun deity interests you the most, by its very nature the energy of the sun can't help but be associated with hope and life. </p

Magic using the sun involves success, confidence, new beginnings, power, health, and healing.

Colors: Yellow, gold, orange
Stones: Amber, brass, carnelian, citrine, diamond, gold, sulfur, tiger eye, topaz, zircon Incense/Oils: Benzoin, cinnamon, copal, frankincense, rosemary, sandalwood
Herbs/Plants: Bay, carnation, cashew, cedar, chamomile, cinnamon, juniper, marigold, mistletoe, oak, olive, orange, peony, pineapple, rosemary, rowan, rue, saffron, St. John's Wort, sesame, sunflower, tea, walnut
Affirmation: Seasons come and go, cycles ebb and flow; no matter when, no matter where, the star of life is always there.

Monday: The Moon
Nearly all myths of the world contain some mention of the sun and the moon. Of course, there are cultural differences, but even the most primitive societies recognized the movement of these objects in the sky. Some bestow upon the moon a feminine identity; others give it masculine qualities. A Maasai story from Kenya tells of the sun marrying the moon but they fought, resulting in both of them having a battered appearance. However, the sun became bright to hide his face; the moon, being unashamed, allows people to see her. Many cultures have stories about a rabbit being associated with the moon which, if you look at it with imaginative eyes, you can see. Even though few mysteries about the moon remain, we still can't help feel a sense of awe when we gaze upon it and follow its cycles that seem to mirror our own lives in so many ways.

As with the sun, there are too many moon deities to name. In Greece, the goddess Selene was regarded as a personification of the moon; in Rome she was called Luna. In addition, the Roman goddess Diana (Greek Artemis) was associated with the moon.

Lunar energy is typically associated with life cycles, nurturing, dreams, psychic ability, and magic in general.

Colors: White, silver, gray
Stones: Aquamarine, labradorite, moonstone, pearl, clear quartz, sapphire, selenite, silver
Incense/Oils: Eucalyptus, jasmine, lemon, myrrh, sandalwood
Herbs/Plants: Camellia, camphor, coconut, cotton, cucumber, eucalyptus, gardenia, grape, jasmine, lemon, lemon balm, lettuce, lily, lotus, myrrh, poppy, sandalwood, willow
Affirmation: Changing faces of the moon, dancing with the sun; you follow us, inspire us, watch over everyone.

Tuesday: Tyr; Mars
We get the name Tuesday from Tiw's (Tiu) Day—the Anglo-Saxon name for the Norse god Tyr—a god of war who was equated with the Roman god. Some sources attribute the naming of this planet for the war god because of its reddish color. In Norse myth there aren't a great deal of stories about Tyr. He's most famous for losing one of his hands while binding the great wolf Fenrir. But let's not overlook Mars himself, for which the planet was named. He wasn't exactly a copy of his Greek counterpart Ares. Mars was considered to be less impulsive and more virtuous. In addition, the month of March is named after him (Martius).

When working with the energy of Mars, don't think of it as "war-like" or negative but, instead, view it as courage, strength, facing fear, or standing up for yourself. Channel this energy into your day however it's needed; remind yourself that you have the strength to overcome any obstacle.

Colors: All shades of red
Stones: Bloodstone, flint, garnet, iron, jasper, magnetite, pyrite, rhodonite, ruby
Incense/Oils: Dragon's blood; pine
Herbs/Plants: Allspice, basil, carrot, chili pepper, cumin, garlic, ginger, holly, leek, mustard, onion, pepper, peppermint, pine, radish, reed, shallot, snapdragon, thistle, tobacco, wormwood, yucca
Affirmation: Gods of battle give me courage, strength for anything I need; I am bold and I am brave, in every word and every deed.

Wednesday: Odin; Mercury
Most people are familiar with the Norse god Odin, the All-father, head of the Norse pantheon, god of wisdom, poetry, and war. The Anglo-Saxon name Wodan/Wotan is the origin of Wednesday, or Woden's Day. So, what is the connection between the Roman god Mercury and Odin? Sources vary on this subject. It could be that Odin's association with wisdom is linked with Mercury's later connection with learning; he has been attributed to giving Romans the alphabet. I like to consider their relationship as one based on communication. Mercury is the god of commerce and, like his Greek counterpart Hermes, is a swift-footed messenger who also guides souls to the underworld. Odin is also associated with the dead and has two ravens as companions who fly all over the world and deliver information. In this way, we can see some similarities.

Use the energy of Wednesday for communication and messages, travel, learning, and wisdom.

Colors: Yellow, green
Stones: Agate, aventurine, mica, citrine, opal
Incense/Oils: Lavender, lemongrass, peppermint
Herbs/Plants: Almond, aspen, bean, Brazil nut, caraway, clover, dill, fennel, fern, lavender, lemongrass, lily of the valley, mandrake, marjoram, May Apple, mint, mulberry, parsley, pecan, peppermint, pistachio, pomegranate
Affirmation: Swift and wise, be my guide, in all I show and all I hide.

Thursday: Thor; Jupiter
The Norse god Thor probably needs little introduction—most everyone is familiar with his prowess and his magic hammer. He's a giant-killer and also associated with storms, thunder, and lightning. The Roman god Jupiter was a sky god also associated with thunder and storms. The Old English Dunresdaeg was the day of Thunor, an equivalent to the Norse god Thor. In ancient Rome Jupiter was part of a triad of very important deities that also included Mars and Quirinus (a deified version of Romulus, one of Rome's legendary founders). It may seem like the head of the pantheon like Jupiter (Zeus) would be more comparable with a figure like Odin instead of Thor. But that's not the case here. It reflects just how much prominence a sky god like Thor had in ancient times.

The energy of "Thor's Day" involves change and possibility; movement. In addition, this is a good day for spells to harness good fortune and wealth.

Colors: Shades of blue/violet and deep purple
Stones: Amethyst, lepidolite, pewter, sapphire, tin
Incense/Oils: Star anise
Herbs/Plants: Anise, chestnut, clove, dandelion, fig, honeysuckle, maple, nutmeg, sage, sassafrass
Affirmation: Calm or storm, I stay in form; change and chance, eternal dance.

Friday: Frigg/Freya; Venus
The Norse goddess Frigg (Frigga) is the wife of Odin, associated with love and nurturing—she was also a mother figure. Her name comes from an Indo-European root that means "love," and so she was compared to Venus, Roman goddess of love. Frigg is typically portrayed as a loving wife and mother, but not always. In fact, most love goddesses are not always painted in such a simplistic role. That's because life and relationships are rarely simple. Some sources actually say that Frigg and the Norse goddess Freya were once the same figure. Freya, too, is associated with love. In addition, she is the only female of the Vanir (lesser group of gods) who is named in the epic poetry, and is associated with fertility and magic as well. It is said that she taught seid—a type of divination—to the Aesir (the main group of gods). As with the other Roman gods, Venus has some distinctions from her Greek counterpart Aphrodite. Venus was considered a goddess of fertility and victory in addition to love.

Use the energy of Frigg's day for love, relationships, friendship, fertility, and all types of bonds.

Colors: Blue, pink, green
Stones: Azurite, beryl, chrysocolla, chrysoprase, calcite, celestite, copper, emerald, jade, lapis lazuli, lodestone, malachite, olivine/peridot, sodalite, turquoise, watermelon tourmaline
Incense/Oils: Rose, spearmint, spikenard, vanilla
Herbs/Plants: Apple, apricot, avocado, aster, birch, blackberry, cardamom, catnip, cherry, crocus, daffodil, daisy, elder, foxglove, geranium, heather, hibiscus, hyacinth, iris, lilac, magnolia, mugwort, oats, orchid, pea, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, rose, strawberry, thyme, tomato, tulip, vanilla, vervain, violet, willow
Affirmation: Love is all, transform, transcend. Love is all, begin and end.

Saturday: Saturn
There seemed to be no satisfactory god or goddess equivalent for Saturn's Day. In Old Norse, they referred to this day as "washing day." In other parts of Germany this day was called "Sunday eve." Some people associate this day with the Norse trickster figure Loki because Saetere was a possible Slavic name for Loki, but there is less evidence for this. Since Saturn was equated with the Greek Cronus (Kronos), we can look to those qualities for mythological associations. Cronus was associated with time and agriculture. He is our embodiment of "father time" as depicted with sickle in hand for the harvest.

In Greek myth, Cronus was a Titan, and their leader, not one of the Olympian gods. He overthrew his father Oranous (Uranus), castrating him. He threw the genitals into the sea and from this the goddess Aphrodite was born (Venus). This myth illustrates the motif of succession: we are taken over by our offspring just as we take over those before us; although, since this is often not a desired state, there is resistance. Many people fear the ending of their time or the ending of a period of controlling something. Cronus knew his children would replace him, just as he replaced his own father, and he enacted a plot to subdue the next generation by devouring them which, naturally, was unsuccessful. We get the word for time (chronology) from his name. We all know our time is limited, and it can be frightening to consider this.

The energy of Saturn governs domestic concerns (family, duty, loyalty), protection, and binding.

Colors: Black, gray, shades of brown
Stones: Apache tear, hematite, jet, salt, serpentine, obsidian, onyx, black tourmaline
Incense/Oils: Patchouli
Herbs/Plants: Beech, cypress, datura, elm, hemp, ivy, morning glory, mullein, pansy, poplar, yew
Affirmation: Riddles and webs, reason and rhyme, I can navigate this travesty of time.

Cartwright, Mark. "Mars." Ancient History Encyclopedia. ancient.eu Jan 16 2014.
Coolman, Robert. "Keeping Time: Origins of the Days of the Week." Live Science. May 7, 2014. https://www.livescience.com/45432-days-of-the-week.html
Couzens, Reginald. The Stories of the Months and Days. 1923. https://www.sacred-texts.com/time/smd/index.htm
Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul: Llewellyn Worldwide. 1999.
Lindow, John. Norse Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press. 2001.
Grant, Ember. The Second Book of Crystal Spells. Woodbury: Llewellyn Worldwide. 2016.
Novara, Jayme and Christina Gant. An Introduction to World Mythology. Revised Second Edition. Des Moines: Kendall Hunt. 2018.
Wasson, Donald. "Mercury." Ancient History Encyclopedia. ancient.eu Nov 6 2018.
___ "Jupiter." Ancient History Encyclopedia. ancient.eu May 6 2014.

About Ember Grant

Ember Grant is a full time English professor and teaches writing, poetry, and literature. She has been writing for Llewellyn for more than twenty years and is the author of numerous articles and four books: Mythology for a ...

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