Symbols and Customs of Lupercalia

Joulis ^^ !Symbols and Customs of Lupercalia

Blood
Blood played an important role in the observation of the Lupercalia. The blood of the animals sacrificed at the festival was smeared across the foreheads of two young priests with a knife-perhaps to symbolize death without actually killing anyone. Some accounts of the early observation of this festival say that the youths had to laugh after the blood had been wiped off, which may have been another symbolic act designed to prove that they had been reborn or revived.

Red, the color of blood, is still closely identified with the celebration of VALENTINE’S DAY on February 14. There is reason to believe that what started out as a pagan fertility ritual was eventually transformed into a Christian feast in honor of St. Valentine. Then the Christian festival gradually turned into a secular celebration of young lovers. If this is the case, then the red that dominates so many modern Valentine cards may have derived from the sacrificial blood of the Lupercalia.

Februa
The skins of the goats sacrificed at the Lupercalia were cut into long, thin strips, from which whips were made. The loinskin-clad youths ran through the streets, whipping everyone they met. Women in particular were eager to receive these lashes, as they believed that the whipping would cure infertility and ease the pains of childbirth.

The goatskin thongs used as whips were called februa. Both this name and the name of the month in which the festival was observed, February, were derived from the word februum, which was an ancient instrument of purification. Whipping certain parts of the body with an instrument believed to possess magical powers was considered an effective way of driving off the evil spirits that interfered with human fertilization. The goatskin thongs were believed to possess such powers.

Running around the settlement on the Palatine Hill in Rome wearing the skins and carrying the februa appears to have been an attempt to trace a magic circle around the city to shut out evil influences. This would make the Lupercalia a precursor of the ceremony that came to be known as “beating the bounds.”

Goat
In pre-Christian times, the goat was a symbol of virility and unbridled lust. Christians saw the goat as an “impure, stinking” creature in search of gratification. In portrayals of the Last Judgment, the goat is the creature who is eternally condemned to the fires of Hell, and it’s no coincidence that the devil has many goatlike characteristics. In the Middle Ages, witches were often shown riding through the air on goats, and the devil appears as a male goat whose rump the witches kiss.

If the Lupercalia was primarily a fertility ritual, it makes sense that the women were whipped with thongs made from the skins of an animal identified with lust and virility. But why was a dog sacrificed as well? It is important to remember here that the Lupercalia was both a fertility rite and a purification rite, held to protect the fields and herds from evil. Perhaps dogs were involved in the sacrifice because they are the traditional guardians of the sheepfold.

Goats today are considered a symbol of sexual drive, and February is the month during which they mate.

Milk
After the Luperci were smeared with the blood of the sacrifice, the blood was wiped from their foreheads with wool dipped in milk. Just as the blood symbolized death, the milky wool was symbolic of new life, because milk represents the source of life. Some scholars have theorized that the milk was a symbol of sperm and the red symbolized menstrual blood. According to an ancient theory of procreation, new life came from the union of white sperm with red menses.

Today, red and white are the colors associated with VALENTINE’S DAY.

Wolf
The Latin word for wolf is lupus, from which both the Lupercal (cave) and the Lupercalia derived their names. While the festival may originally have been held in honor of the she-wolf who cared for Romulus and Remus, wolves also represented a threat to the herds on which the early Romans depended for food. The wolf is therefore a symbol not only for the wild, unrestrained forces of nature but also for the benevolent guardian of helpless creatures like Romulus and Remus.

Why were the priests called Luperci? The word Lupercus might have come from a phrase meaning “to purify by means of a goat”; or it might have come from a combination of lupus and arcere, meaning “he who wards off wolves.” Whether the Luperci were protectors from wolves or wolf-priests who took the form of wolves as a means of bringing them under control is a question that has never been satisfactorily answered. Some scholars suggest that the dead revealed themselves in the form of wolves, against whom the community had to be defended.

FURTHER READING
Biedermann, Hans. Dictionary of Symbolism: Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them. New York: Meridian Books, 1994. Fowler, W. Warde. The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic. New York: Macmillan Co., 1925. Henderson, Helene, ed. Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. 3rd ed. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2005. James, E.O. Seasonal Feasts and Festivals. 1961. Reprint. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1993. Lemprière, John. Lemprière’s Classical Dictionary. Revised ed. London: Bracken, 1994. Santino, Jack. All Around the Year: Holidays and Celebrations in American Life. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994. Scullard, H.H. Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981.

Article published on The Free Dictionary

Daily Feng Shui News for Jan. 24th – ‘Compliment Day’

I’d like to share a tasty recipe that will have everyone eating of your hands during today’s ‘Compliment Day.’ My passion for all things culinary has driven me to spend much time over the last twenty years studying the magic inherent in food, and there is one recipe that I repeat on a fairly regular basis because of its promise and time tested positive results. This recipe comes from ancient Indian texts and will the compliments coming right at you. You need a small amount of saffron, milk and some sliced almonds. Mix the almonds and some of the saffron together and then boil them in the milk. The lore surrounding this secret recipe says that whoever drinks it will be blessed and think only sweet thoughts while saying only sweet words. So go ahead and be generous with your compliments towards everyone else, but if there’s a special someone you’ve been waiting to hear sweet nothings from: got milk?

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Calendar of the Sun for January 9th

Calendar of the Sun

9 Wolfmonath

Baubo’s Day of the Midwives

Color: Red
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a red cloth place a single red candle, a chalice of fresh milk, and a Sheela-Na-Gig.
Offerings: Give aid to a midwife.
Daily Meal: Center around milk or dairy.

Baubo Invocation

Hail Baubo, Mother of Laughter,
Great open door upon your belly,
You who open all things,
The woman’s womb, the hard-bound heart,
The eyes shut tight in fear,
The belly full of mirth repressed,
All these you tear open like a child
Reveals their holiday gifts with glee.
We are your packages, your presents,
To undo as you will!
Today no weeping will sound through our halls,
And only mirth shall walk our paths,
O Baubo upon the bridge!
You watch those who walk down to the dark places,
You see those who weep their sorrow
Like Mother Demeter trailing in the dust,
And your great heart of understanding
Knows that no word of sense will ever help
When the shadows are darkest.
Only absurdity, only paradox
The extravagant, the foolish, the incredible,
The outlandish and preposterous,
Only these can make their way
Under the tight doors of desolation,
Through the cracks of misery.
A small thing, laughter, yet without it
We drown in the rivers of our own self-importance.
Hail Baubo, Mother of Mirth!

(One or more who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual come forth to do Baubo’s job. They must shed their clothing, and naked wear faces painted on their bellies, and tell jokes until laughter is rampant. Finish with the chant listed on Ilithyia’s Day.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Enhanced by Zemanta

Aleuromancy

Aleuromancy


An ancient divinatory practice which utilized flour. Sentences were written on pieces of paper, each of which was rolled up in a little ball of flour The balls of flour were thoroughly mixed up nine times and then divided amongst the curious, who anxiously waited to learn their fate. The custom lingered in remote areas into the nineteenth century.


Apollo, who supposedly presided over this divination form, was surnamed Aleuromantis.

Magickal Relaxing Peace Bath

Magickal Relaxing Peace Bath

Draw a bath for yourself.
Pour a tablespoon or so of milk into a large bowl of water and say:
‘Water ripples on the breeze…’

Add several rose petals (fresh or dried) to the bowl of water and milk.
Say: ‘Thistledown flies through the air…’

Stir the water, milk, and rose petals with the index finger of your right hand. Say:
‘Silent as the mighty seas…’

Gently pour the mixture that you have created into the bath. Say:
‘Peaceful here without a care.’

Step in. Bathe for as long as you wish.
Let the water absorb negative thoughts and worries.
Allow yourself a few moments of healing peace.

Daily Feng Shui News for Jan. 24 – ‘National Compliment Day’

Today’s ‘National Compliment Day’ recipe will have them eating right out of your hands, or, more appropriately, drinking a magically complimentary elixir from your kitchen. This next recipe comes from ancient Indian texts and tells how we can say or think the sweetest things, and how we can get someone else do the exact same. You need a small amount of saffron, almonds and milk. Mix sliced almonds and some of the saffron together and then boil that in milk. The lore surrounding this secret recipe says that whoever drinks this will then be blessed and think only sweet thoughts and say only sweet words. This legend continues that drinking this mixture will also allow anyone imbibing to expel their anger and forget their woes. Got milk? I hope so.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Living Life as the Magickal Witch – Acceptable Gifts and Offerings to the Gods

Living Life as the Magickal Witch – Acceptable Gifts and Offerings to the Gods

 

It is a common Pagan and Wiccan tradition that, in order to show respect and gratitude for , gifts and offerings are being made. Each deity responds best to a certain type of gift so when making an offering always think about what the god represents. While, in general, offerings such as bread, milk and wine are appropriate for any deity, this question still arises: “What are the acceptable offerings and gifts to offer each deity?”

Based upon the types of gods, here are some suggestions for specific food, drink and herbs offerings you can make:

1. Gods of Hearth and Home

– Offer food such as bread and grains, salt and cooking oil
– Appropriate drinks are milk, wine and cider
– Herb offerings you can go for are rosemary or thyme

2. Love and Passion Gods

– Best food offerings are apples , honey and eggs
– Drink offerings: wine and fruit juice
– Herbs: lavender and sandalwood

3. Prosperity and Abundance Gods. It is recommended that you offer the following:

– Dairy products and grains
– Milk and beer
– Mint, catnip and pennyroyal

4. Nature and Garden Gods

– Bread, fruits, cornmeal
– Milk and water
– Bay

5. Fertility Goddess

– Eggs and baked sweets
– Milk – breast milk too
– Rose, apple blossoms and sandalwood

6. Ancestor Spirits

– Offer any food and drinks from your family’s table and herbs such as sweet grass or sage.

 

 

Reference:
“The Wayward Wiccan”

Calendar of the Sun for December 22nd

Calendar of the Sun

21 Yulemonath

Day of the Goat – Capricorn Begins

Colors: Black and dark brown and dark grey
Element: Earth
Altar: Set with cloths of black and dark brown and dark grey, a mountain of stones of any kind but especially obsidian and granite, lead sinkers, a chain, and the figure of a goat.
Offerings: A bow of respect. A grey hair. Finish a hard task that was begun some time ago and has been put off due to procrastination.
Daily Meal: Root vegetables. Goat meat, goat cheese, and goat milk. Coarse dark bread.

Invocation to Capricorn

Climber of the highest mountain,
Goat whose strength does not give in,
Child of Saturn, chained god,
Who is a friend to hardship and endurance,
Whose gift is Persistence,
Bless us with the ability
To keep going even when the way is hard
Even when all hope seems to be lost,
Even when there is no light on the horizon.
Even in the utter darkness,
Never let us lose sight of our goals.
By the power of all aspiration,
You challenge us to help each other
Achieve what we have yearned for.
May we all go forth
In unswerving loyalty.

Chant:
Under the Earth
Under the ground
Is the birth of mountains found.

(Let all present hear the invocation on their knees, on the hardest floor, save for those who have an infirmity that must be taken into consideration. The singing also should be done kneeling, and afterwards let each person prostrate themselves on the ground, and remain that way, face down, meditating on the earth beneath them, until the hour is over.)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

 

Calendar of the Moon for November 19th

Calendar of the Moon

19 Ngetal/Maimakterion

Scathach’s Day

Colors: Black and Red
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of black and red place three red candles, wooden practice swords, quarterstaves, and a cup of animal’s blood.
Offering: Mentor someone in something difficult that they fear, and do not be gentle with them.
Daily Meal: Meat.

Invocation to Scathach

Hail teacher of warriors!
Hail Lady who hones the edges
Of young hotbloods sharp and keen,
Who cools their seething heads,
Who makes them think of strategy and logic,
Who quickens their reflexes,
Who tempers their dross iron
Into serviceable steel.
Hail Lady of the sword and shield,
Lady of the spear and staff,
Lady many-weaponed, who knows the secrets
Of each killing blow,
Hail Lady of the Isle of Skye,
The crashing waves, the bridge of knives,
The salmon’s leap across the unknown.
You test our strength,
Giving us the cold reality
Of what we can and cannot do.
You push our boundaries,
Encouraging us to do more
That we thought possible.
You take no excuses,
And for that we must be grateful.
Hail teacher of warriors;
May we all learn beneath your implacable blows.

(The cup of blood is poured out as a libation. Each person steps up to the altar and names something that is difficult for them, where they need to be honed. They indicate one of the practice weapons, and one who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual strikes them three times with it. The first strike should be light, and the second and third strikes harder only if they ask for it to be so. Thus Scathach gives her blessing.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for November 16th

Calendar of the Moon

Crescent Moon Night

Color: White
Element: Water
Altar: Upon a white cloth set a plate of round white cakes, a single thick white candle, a white bowl of water, and a pitcher of fresh milk from a local animal.
Offerings: Milk. Sugar. Nurturing another.
Daily Meal: White foods, such as rice, coconut, almonds. All dairy products.

Crescent Moon Night Invocation

In the dark of night
You are the source of light.
Our ancestors gathered at this time,
Protected by the silvery glow
That drove the demons from the dark fields.
Selene, Moon Mother of the white breast,
Milk-giver, fountain of life,
You speak to us of sustenance,
Of bringing to fruition, to climax.
Yemaya, reflection of the full moon
On the surface of the ocean,
You speak to us of inner tides,
Of feelings swelling like waves.
Thoth, writer and calculator
Who took pity on a mother’s plight,
You count the days, the moments,
You speak of trust in the universe
Proven by the lunar cycle,
Something we can always count on,
Something we will always see.
What is done under Crescent Moon Night
Is seen by the gods both of Darkness and Light.

(Let each come forward and be given milk to drink, and a moon-cake to eat. Then let all process in a slow spiral dance, chanting.)

Chant:
What is done under Crescent Moon Night
Is seen by the gods of both Darkness and Light.

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]