Origins of Lupercalia

WOLVESOrigins of Lupercalia

Type of Holiday: Ancient

Date of Observation: February 15

Where Celebrated: Rome

Symbols and Customs: Blood, Februa, Goat, Milk, Wolf

Colors: Red and white, in the form of BLOOD and MILK , both played a part in the earliest observance of the Lupercalia. Nowadays these are the colors associated with Valentine’s Day, to which this ancient festival has been linked.

Related Holidays: Valentine’s Day

ORIGINS
The Lupercalia was a festival in the ancient Roman religion, which scholars trace back to the sixth century B . C . E . Roman religion dominated Rome and influenced territories in its empire until Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in the third century C . E . Ancient Roman religion was heavily influenced by the older Greek religion. Roman festivals therefore had much in common with those of the ancient Greeks. Not only were their gods and goddesses mostly the same as those in the Greek pantheon (though the Romans renamed them), but their religious festivals were observed with similar activities: ritual sacrifice, theatrical performances, games, and feasts.

The Lupercalia festival was held in honor of the WOLF who mothered Romulus and Remus, the legendary twin founders of Rome. During the original Roman celebration, members from two colleges of priests gathered at a cave on the Palatine Hill called the Lupercal-supposedly the cave where Romulus and Remus had been suckled by a she-wolf-and sacrificed a GOAT and a dog. The animals’ BLOOD was smeared on the foreheads of two young priests and then wiped away with wool dipped in MILK . The two young men stripped down to a goatskin loincloth and ran around the Palatine, striking everyone who approached them, especially the women, with thongs of goat skin called FEBRUA . It is believed that this was both a fertility ritual and a purification rite. It may also have been a very early example of “beating the bound, or reestablishing the borders of the early Palatine settlement.

There is some confusion over which god the Luperci or priests served; some say it was Faunus, a rural deity, and some say it was Pan, the god of shepherds who protected sheep from the danger of wolves. All that is certain is that by Caesar’s time, the annual ceremony had become a spectacular public sight, with young men running half-naked through the streets and provoking much good-natured hysteria among the women. February 15 was also the day when Mark Antony offered Julius Caesar the crown. Thanks to this historic event, and Shakespeare’s account of it in his play Julius Caesar, the Lupercalia is one of the best known of all Roman festivals.

It is interesting that such a rustic festival continued to be celebrated in Rome for centuries after it had been Christianized. Its survival can be partially credited to Augustus, who rebuilt the Lupercal in the first century B . C . E ., thus giving the celebration a boost. It continued to be observed until 494 C . E ., when Pope Gelasius I changed the day to the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. There is some reason to believe that the Lupercalia was a forerunner of the modern VALENTINE’S DAY: Part of the ceremony involved putting girls’ names in a box and letting boys draw them out, thus pairing them off until the next Lupercalia.

Source:
The Free Dictionary

Advertisements

Happy Lupercalia To All Those Celebrating Today!

a1d060a606f2f4e04170a5cbf07880c8

Lupercalia

This was an ancient Roman festival during which worshippers gathered at a grotto on the Palatine Hill in Rome called the Lupercal, where Rome’s legendary founders, Romulus and Remus, had been suckled by a wolf. The sacrifice of goats and dogs to the Roman deities Lupercus and Faunus was part of the ceremony. Luperci (priests of Lupercus) dressed in goatskins and, smeared with the sacrificial blood, would run about striking women with thongs of goat skin. This was thought to assure them of fertility and an easy delivery. The name for these thongs— februa —meant “means of purification” and eventually gave the month of February its name. There is some reason to believe that the Lupercalia was a forerunner of modern Valentine’s Day customs. Part of the ceremony involved putting girls’ names in a box and letting boys draw them out, thus pairing them off until the next Lupercalia.

Calendar of the Sun for December 5th

Calendar of the Sun

5 Yulmonath

Festival of Faunus

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of green set a bowl of soil, gathered earlier in the year, and many small cups of soil, the figure of a goat, a plate of cookies shaped like goats, and a cup of wine. In the large bowl set many sticks of incense, with a single stick in each cup.
Offerings: Give seeds to people with gardens.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian

Invocation to Faunus

Hail Blessed Faunus, Benefactor of the Fields!
You whose name means Favored One,
Favor us, as we stand here today!
Favor our fields, that they may yield.
Favor our gardens, that they may grow.
Favor our flocks, that they may increase.
Favor our faith, that it may grow as well.
Give us increase and abundance of all good things,
Enough to help us through times of dearth.
Give us luck, that we may find our way
Past all the obstacles that cannot be
Surmounted by skill alone.
Smile on us, Faunus, Gladsome One,
Goat-horned and goat-hooved
Like the animals you watch over,
Let those in our care not go hungry
Nor suffer the pangs of thirst.
Show us the future, Oracular One,
And we pray that it may be a future
We can all look forward to.
Hail, Faunus, Father of Bona Dea,
Son and wife of Marica the nymph,
Called Lupercus, He who wards off the Wolf,
Ward the evil from our lives
And watch over us as your flock.

(The wine is poured out as a libation. One takes the great bowl of earth and purifies the altar room with its smoke. All others take a cup and walk alone to some place in the House or the lands in order to purify that place with the smoke.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for December 5th

Calendar of the Sun

5 Yulmonath

Festival of Faunus

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of green set a bowl of soil, gathered earlier in the year, and many small cups of soil, the figure of a goat, a plate of cookies shaped like goats, and a cup of wine. In the large bowl set many sticks of incense, with a single stick in each cup.
Offerings: Give seeds to people with gardens.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian

Invocation to Faunus

Hail Blessed Faunus, Benefactor of the Fields!
You whose name means Favored One,
Favor us, as we stand here today!
Favor our fields, that they may yield.
Favor our gardens, that they may grow.
Favor our flocks, that they may increase.
Favor our faith, that it may grow as well.
Give us increase and abundance of all good things,
Enough to help us through times of dearth.
Give us luck, that we may find our way
Past all the obstacles that cannot be
Surmounted by skill alone.
Smile on us, Faunus, Gladsome One,
Goat-horned and goat-hooved
Like the animals you watch over,
Let those in our care not go hungry
Nor suffer the pangs of thirst.
Show us the future, Oracular One,
And we pray that it may be a future
We can all look forward to.
Hail, Faunus, Father of Bona Dea,
Son and wife of Marica the nymph,
Called Lupercus, He who wards off the Wolf,
Ward the evil from our lives
And watch over us as your flock.

(The wine is poured out as a libation. One takes the great bowl of earth and purifies the altar room with its smoke. All others take a cup and walk alone to some place in the House or the lands in order to purify that place with the smoke.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Earth Deities

Earth Deities

Gods/Goddesses– the Dagda, Cernunnos, the Horned God, Nuada, Adonis, Pan, Cronus, Faunus, Consus, Saturn, Seb, Osiris, Pachacamac, Cerridwen, Blodeuwedd, Creiddylad, Anu, Tailtiu, Demeter, Gaea, Hera, Persephone, Asia, Rhea, Cybele, Tellus Mater, Juno, Ops, Ceres, Proserpina, Nerthus, Heqet, Isis, Coatlicue, Izanami, Inanna
Color– Yellow, Brown
Incense/Oil– Birch, Cherry, Cloves, Lilac, Rosemary
Animals– Toad
Spirits– Fairies, Elves, Gnomes
Stones– Rock Crystal
Metal– Nickel
Plants– Corn, Willow, Lily, Ivy, Grains
Wood– Fir
Planet– Earth
Tarot Cards– Four Tens, Four Pages
Magickal Tools– Wand, Goblet
Direction– North
Rituals– Organized Material Manifestations, Healing Mental and Physical Illnesses, Improving Life, Centering Oneself, Healing Plants and Animals, Trance, Psychic Work with Spirits

Calendar of the Sun for May 3

Calendar of the Sun
3 Thrimilchimonath

Day of Bona Dea

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a green cloth set five candles in different colors, a chalice of milk mixed with honey, incense of sandalwood and myrrh, the figure of a snake, a plate of cookies shaped like pigs, a pot of medicinal herbal tea, cups, and pots of dried herbs gathered throughout the year.
Offerings: Leave a pig-shaped cookie out for the wild things.
Daily Meal: Soups or stews, preferably with herbs. Herbal tea.

Invocation to Bona Dea

O Bona Dea,
Good Goddess of the Earth
Whose name is mystery,
Whose name is a hundred names,
Whose spirit lives in us all
And in every goddess who touches the soil,
And in every mortal who sprang from the clay,
Be with us on this day!
You have made the Earth spring forth
With many green goods for us,
Not merely those with which me feed our bellies,
But also those which heal our bodies.
Lady who heals us, godmother of Hygeia,
Daughter of Faunus who tracks in the wild,
We find your gifts both in our gardens
And on the wild paths where you have trodden.
We see the healing herbs springing up
In each of your passing footprints,
And we are grateful for our lives.
O Bona Dea,
Good Goddess of the Earth
Whose name is mystery
But whose gifts are so concrete,
We revere you and ask that you bless this day
Your plants which you have so generously given us,
That we may always be healed
And always help to heal others.

(The names of the herbs are called out one by one, in this manner: “For the power of Rosemary, we are grateful!” All reply in turn, “We are grateful!” Pass the tea and cookies and eat them.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for February 14th

Calendar of the Sun
14 Solmonath

Lupercalia

Color: Black and red
Element: Earth
Altar: Drape with black and set with the figures of wolves and a straw goat. There should also be a shallow bowl filled with the blood of a recently slaughtered animal, and a knife in the blood, and a goatskin whip.
Offerings: Cakes baked of “mola salsa”, heavily salted meal from the first ears of grain harvested during the last year. An agreement to study the predator and prey within you.
Daily Meal: Goat meat. Bread or cooked grains.

Lupercalia Invocation

Within us is the goat
Who is sacrificed
Who gives up its life
Who is torn apart
That others may live.
Within us is the wolf
That does the tearing,
Who is pitiless,
Who is implacable,
Who is the life for which
The prey lays it own down.
We are both wolf and goat
And to devalue one
Is to shame the other.

Call and Response:
Hail, Creature of Prey, Sacrificed One!
Hail, Predator who accepts the sacrifice!
Hail, Pan, Goat-God who runs on swift hooves!
Hail, Loba, Wolf-Goddess, who pursues him!
May we fear no pain!
May we fear no pain!
May we fear no pain!

(Two who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual stand naked before the altar. One takes the whip and whips the open presented palms of each person, saying, “Let the spirit of the Goat come into you.” The other takes the bloody knife and carefully wipes it across the foreheads of everyone present, saying, “Let the spirit of the Wolf come into you.” All join in a group howl.)

Earth Goddesses – FAUNA

Earth Goddesses – FAUNA 

Fauna, the Roman goddess of nature and animals, was most often called Bona Dea (“the Good Goddess”), which is a title, not a name. Sometimes she was referred to as Bona Mater, which means “Good Mother.” To say the actual name of Fauna was taboo in ancient Roman society. Fauna was a Earth Goddess and was worshipped primarily by women. She was the daughter (sometimes represented as consort) of the nature god Faunus. It was said that after her marriage, she never laid eyes upon another man. This chastity. Improved her ranking among the gods. She was a country goddess, the protector of cattle and farmlands. She also presided over virginity and fertility in women. Today the word fauna is used to encompass all animal life.

Fauna is depicted as an old woman with pointed ears. She is represented holding the horn of plenty, and a snake is her symbol. It is said that the snake represents her phallic nature; however, men were not allowed at her temples or festivals. Her image is often found on Roman coins.

Bona Dea had two major festivals, one in May and the other on December 3 or 4. (This feast was moveable.) The festival held in December was a secret rite. It was unique because it was often held in the homes of high-ranking Roman magistrates as opposed to public temples. It was an invitation-only affair. Men were not allowed, nor was any depiction of a man welcome. Paintings and statues that included a male figure were covered up or removed. This festival was said to be a lesbian orgy; however, it has been suggested that it was actually a purification rite. It was forbidden to use the word “wine” or “myrtle,” because Fauna’s father had beaten her to death with a myrtle stick upon finding that she had gotten drunk. Wine was forbidden to women under Roman law. However, it was also her father who gifted her with her divinity, be repenting of her killing and bestowing divinity upon her. Wine was served at her festival but was called milk. It was traditionally kept in a jar covered with cloth. The jar was referred to as the honey pot.

Fauna’s May celebrations took place in her temple and was held on May 1. Wine was served in the same manner as in the December rites. The temple was decorated with vines, flowers, and plants, with the careful exclusion of myrtle. This celebration was public and open to all women. The festival was rumored to included the ritual sacrifice of a pregnant sow.

Fauna’s temple was built over a cave that housed consecrated serpents. Enslaved women were prominent among the worshippers. In fact, Fauna was the only Roman deity to allow freed slaves to serve among her priestesses. Her rites were unique because she allowed high-ranking Roman women, poor women, prostitutes, and slaves to worship together side by side.

Fauna was also seen as the mother of the fairies. In this role she was a prophetess and seer. In addition, Fauna was the female essence of wildlife. In this role she was the companion of Faunus, who served as the male essence.

Fauna was a healing goddess and her temple garden was filled with medicinal herbs. The sick were brought to her temple gardens to be healed.