In early times, a Pagan religious ceremony called the Laurentina was held in Rome each year on this date. It celebrated the recovery of light from the darkness of the winter solstice, and was dedicated to the goddess Acca Laurentia or Lar (the mother of the Lares)
On this day in 1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering
from severe depression, cuts off the lower part of his left ear with a
razor while staying in Arles, France. He later documented the event in a
painting titled Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. Today, Van Gogh
is regarded as an artistic genius and his masterpieces sell for
record-breaking prices; however, during his lifetime, he was a poster
boy for tortured starving artists and sold only one painting while alive.
Today's Esoteric Word is Hazel: A tree associated with the god Thor and believed by occultists to possess divinatory properties. The hazel rod, considered the badge of authority of fairies, is popular with dowsers.