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

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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  harvested during the last year. An agreement to  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 !

(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.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for June 14

14 Huath/Thargelion

Feast of Pan

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth lay the figure of a goat, a clay cup of well water, a horn of wine, a phallus, and many green branches.
Offerings: Honor the wild male self in everyone.
Daily Meal: Sheep or goat meat.

Pan Invocation

Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Goat god, Satyr god,
God of woods and high mountains
Lord of Testosterone
Player of the body’s music!
Great Pan is dead
But liveth still!
We will not forget our bodies,
Lest you send us panic
At every touch of affection.
Help us to love our flesh, O Pan,
God of scent and musk and all that is animal!
Let us remember
That we, too, are animal,
And we, too, live in our bodies
Which are a privilege
And not a punishment.
Come, Horned One,
Come to the woodland glade
Come for the wine
Come for the dance
Come, lusty god from Arcadia
Come with pipe and drum
And make the mountains
Ring anew!

(A circle should be formed of drummers and dancers, who should shout “Io Pan!” as they dance in a circle, until they fall from exhaustion.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]