Lupercalia: Celebrate the Coming of Spring

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Lupercalia: Celebrate the Coming of Spring

February was considered the final month of the Roman year, and on the 15th, citizens celebrated the festival of Lupercalia. Originally, this week-long party honored the god Faunus, who watched over shepherds in the hills. The festival also marked the coming of spring. Later on, it became a holiday honoring Romulus and Remus, the twins who founded Rome after being raised by a she-wolf in a cave. Eventually, Lupercalia became a multi-purpose event: it celebrated the fertility of not only the livestock but people as well.

To kick off the festivities, an order of priests gathered before the Lupercale on the Palatine hill, the sacred cave in which Romulus and Remus were nursed by their wolf-mother. The priests then sacrificed a dog for purification, and a pair of young male goats for fertility. The hides of the goats were cut into strips, dipped in blood, and taken around the streets of Rome. These bits of hide were touched to both fields and women as a way of encouraging fertility in the coming year. Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. There is a theory that this tradition may have survived in the form of certain ritual Easter Monday whippings.

After the priests concluded the fertility rites, young women placed their names in a jar. Men drew names in order to choose a partner for the rest of the celebrations — not unlike later customs of entering names in a Valentine lottery.

To the Romans, Lupercalia was a monumental event each year. When Mark Antony was the master of the Luperci College of Priests, he chose the festival of Lupercalia in 44 BC as the time to offer the crown to Julius Caesar.

By about the fifth century, however, Rome was beginning to move towards Christianity, and Pagan rites were frowned upon. Lupercalia was seen as something only the lower classes did, and eventually the festival ceased to be celebrated.

 

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

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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

Happy Lupercalia To All Those Celebrating Today!

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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.

365 Days of Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for October 26th – Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

Wiccan Magic

October 26th

Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

The Ludi Victoriae Sullanae were the games held on October 26 to honor the Goddess Victoria. This festival was established in 81 B.C. to celebrate Sulla’s victory over a large army of Sammites at the Porta Collina in Rome.

Victoria was the Goddess of victory, and her temple was on the Palatine Hill in Rome. She was the equivalent of the Greek Goddess Nike and was pictured with wings. Victoria was an important Goddess to the Romans, and she appears regularly on coinage from the late third century B.C. Victoria came to be regarded as the guardian of the empire, and her altar became a symbol of Paganism.

 

Deity of the Day for September 4 is Cybele, Mother Goddess of Rome

Deity of the Day

Cybele

Mother Goddess of Rome

Cybele, a mother goddess of Rome was at the center of a rather bloody Phrygian cult, and was sometimes known as Magna Mater, or “great goddess.” As part of their worship, priests performed mysterious rites in her honor. Of particular note was the sacrifice of a bull performed as part of an initiation into Cybele’s cult. This ritual was known as the taurobolium, and during the rite a candidate for initiation stood in a pit under a floor with a wooden grate.

The bull was sacrificed above the grate, and the blood ran through holes in the wood, showering the initiate. This was a form of ritual purification and rebirth. For an idea of what this probably looked like, there’s an amazing scene in the HBO series Rome in which the character Atia makes a sacrifice to Cybele to protect her son Octavian, who later becomes the emperor Augustus.

Cybele’s lover was Attis, and her jealousy caused him to castrate and kill himself. His blood was the source of the first violets, and divine intervention allowed Attis to be resurrected by Cybele, with some help from Zeus. Thanks to this resurrection story, Cybele came to be associated with the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. In some areas, there is still an annual three-day celebration of Attis’ rebirth and Cybele’s power around the time of the spring equinox, called the Hilaria.

Like Attis, it is said that Cybele’s followers would work themselves into orgiastic frenzies and then ritually castrate themselves.

After this, these priests donned women’s clothing, and assumed female identities. They became known as the Gallai. In some regions, female priestesses led Cybele’s dedicants in rituals involving ecstatic music, drumming and dancing. Under the leadership of Augustus Caesar, Cybele became extremely popular. Augustus erected a giant temple in her honor on the Palatine Hill, and the statue of Cybele that is in the temple bears the face of Augustus’ wife, Livia.

As the Roman Empire spread, deities of other cultures found themselves absorbed into Roman religion. In the case of Cybele, she later took on many aspects of the Egyptian goddess Isis.

 

Source:

Author: Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert

Article found on & owned by About.com

 

Your Daily Charm for September 1st is Abracadabra

Your Charm for Today

Today’s Meaning:

The most powerful of all talisman indicating you or someone close to you will recover from an infection.

General Description:

One of the most famous of all talismans, and used as a magical formula by the Gnostics in Rome for invoking the aid of beneficent spirits against disease, misfortune and death. Sammonieus, the celebrated Gnostic physician; instructed that the letters of this magical triangle which he used for curing agues and fevers, were to be written on paper, folded into the shape of a cross, worn for nine days suspended from the neck, and, before sunrise, cast behind the patient into a stream running eastward. It was also a most popular charm in the middle ages. During the Great Plague, 1665, great numbers of these amulets were worn as supposed safeguards against infection.

Aradia: Gospel of the Witches (Chapter 15: Laverna)

Chapter XV

Laverna

Charles G. Leland


The following very curious tale, with the incantation, was not in the text of the Vangelo, but it very evidently belongs to the cycle or series of legends connected with it. Diana is declared to be the protectress of all outcasts, those to whom the night is their day, consequently of thieves; and Laverna, as we may learn from Horace and Plautus, was pre-eminently the patroness of pilfering and all rascality. In this story she also appears as a witch and humorist.

It was given to me as a tradition of Virgil, who often appears as one familiar with the marvelous and hidden lore of the olden time.

It happened on a time that Virgil, who knew all things hidden or magical, he who was a magician and poet, having heard a speech (or oration) by a famous talker who had not much in him, was asked what he thought of it. And he replied, “It seems to me to be impossible to tell whether it was all introduction or all conclusion; certainly there was no body in it. It was like certain fish of whom one is in doubt whether they are all head or all tail, or only head and tail; or the goddess Laverna, of whom no one ever know whether she was all head or all body, or neither or both.”

Then the emperor inquired who this deity might be, for he had never heard of her.

And Virgil replied, “Among the gods or spirits who were of ancient times – may they be ever favorable to us! Among them (was) one female who was the craftiest and most knavish of them all. She was called Laverna. She was a thief, and very little known to the other deities, who were honest and dignified, for she was rarely in heaven or in the country of the fairies.

“She was almost always on earth, among thieves, pickpockets, and panders – she lived in darkness.

“Once it happened that she went (to a mortal), a great priest in the form and guise of a very beautiful stately priestess (of some goddess), and said to him: –

” ‘ You have an estate which I wish to buy. I intend to build on it a temple to (our) God. I swear to you on my body that I will pay thee within a year’

“Therefore the priest transferred to her the estate.

“And very soon Laverna had sold off all the crops, grain, cattle, wood, and poultry. There was not left the value of four farthings.

“But on the day fixed for payment there was no Laverna to be seen. The fair goddess was far away, and had left her creditor in the lurch!

“At the same time Laverna went to a great lord and bought of him a castle, well furnished within and broad rich lands without.

“But this time she swore on her head to pay in full in six months.

“And as she had done by the priest, so she acted to the lord of the castle, and stole and sold every stick, furniture, cattle, men, and mice – there was not left wherewith to feed a fly.

“Then the priest and the lord, finding out who this was, appealed to the gods, complaining that they had been robbed by a goddess.

“And it was soon made known to them all that this was Laverna.

“Therefore she was called to judgment before all the gods.

“And when she was asked what she had done with the property of the priest, unto whom she had sworn by her body to make payment at the time appointed (and why she had broken her oath)?

“She replied by a strange deed which amazed them all, for she made her body disappear, so that only her head remained visible, and it cried: –

” “Behold me! I swore by my body, but body have I none!’

“Then all the gods laughed.

“After the priest came the lord who had also been tricked, and to whom she had sworn by her head. And in reply to him Laverna showed all present her whole body without mincing matters, and it was one of extreme beauty, but without a head; and from the neck thereof came a voice which said: –

‘Behold me, for I am Laverna, who
Have come to answer to that lord’s complaint,
Who swears that I contracted debt to him,
And have not paid although the time is o’er
And that I am a thief because I swore
Upon my head – but, as you all can see,
I have no head at all, and therefore I
Assuredly ne’er swore by such an oath.’

 

“Then there was indeed a storm of laughter among the gods, who made the matter right by ordering the head to join the body, and bidding Laverna pay up her debts, which she did.

“Then Jove spoke and said: –

” ‘Here is a roguish goddess without a duty (or a worshipper), while there are in Rome innumerable thieves, sharpers, cheats, and rascals who live by deceit.

” “These good folk have neither a church nor a god, and it is a great pity, for even the very devils have their master, Satan, as the head of the family. Therefore, I command that in future Laverna shall be the goddess of all the knaves or dishonest tradesman, with the whole rubbish and refuse of the human race, who have been hitherto without a god or a devil, inasmuch as they have been too despicable for the one or the other.’

“And so Laverna became the goddess of all dishonest and shabby people.

“Whenever any one planned or intended any knavery or aught wicked, he entered her temple, and invoked Laverna, who appeared to him as a woman’s head. But if he did his work of knavery badly or maladroitly, when he again invoked her he saw only the body; but if he was clever, then he beheld the whole goddess, head and body.

“Laverna was no more chaste than she was honest, and had many lovers and many children. It was said that not being bad at heart or cruel, she often repented her life and sins; but do what she might, she could not reform, because her passions were so inveterate.

“And if a man had got any woman with child or any maid found herself enceinte, and would hide it from the world and escape scandal, they would go every day to invoke Laverna.

“Then when the time came for the suppliant to be delivered, Laverna would bear her in sleep during the night to her temple, and after the birth cast her into slumber again, and bear her back to her bed at home. And when she woke in the morning, she was ever in vigorous health and felt no weariness, and all seemed to her as a dream.

“But to those who desired in time to reclaim their children, Laverna was indulgent if they led such lives as pleased her and faithfully worshipped her.

“And this is the ceremony to be performed and the incantation to be offered every night to Laverna.

“There must be a set place devoted to the goddess, be it a room, a cellar, or a grove, but ever a solitary place.

“Then take a small table of the size of forty playing cards set close together, and this must be hid in the same place, and going there at night…

“Take forty cards and spread them on the table, making of them a close carpet or cover on it.

“Take of the herbs paura and concordia, and boil the two together, repeating meanwhile the following: –

I boil the cluster of concordia
To keep in concord and at peace with me
Laverna, that she may restore to me
My child, and that she by her favoring care
May guard me well from danger all my life!
I boil this herb, yet ’tis not it which boils,
I boil the fear, that it may keep afar
Any intruder, and if such should come
(to spy upon my rite), may he be struck
With fear and in his terror haste away!

 

Having said thus, put the boiled herbs in a bottle and spread the cards on the table one by one, saying: –

I spread before me now the forty cards
Yet ’tis not forty cards which here I spread,
But forty of the gods superior
To the deity Laverna, that their forms
May each and all become volcanoes hot,
Until Laverna comes and brings my child;
And ’till ’tis done may they all cast at her
Hot flames of fire, and with them glowing coals
From noses, mouths, and ears (until she yields);
Then may they leave Laverna at her peace,
Free to embrace her children at her will!

 

“Laverna was the Roman goddess of thieves, pickpockets, shopkeepers or dealers, plagiarists, rascals, and hypocrites. There was near Rome a temple in a grove where robbers went to divide their plunder. There was a statue of the goddess. Her image, according to some, was a head without a body; according to others, a body without a head; but the epithet of ‘beautiful’ applied to her by Horace indicates that she who gave disguises to her worshippers had kept one to herself.” She was worshipped in perfect silence. This is confirmed by a passage to Horace, where an impostor, hardly daring to move his lips, repeats the following prayer or incantation: –

“O goddess Laverna!
Give me the art of cheating and deceiving,
Of making men believe that I am just,
Holy, and innocent! extend all darkness
And deep obscurity o’er my misdeeds!”

 

It is interesting to compare this unquestionably ancient classic invocation to Laverna with the one which is before given. The goddess was extensively known to the lower orders, and in Plautus a cook who has been robbed of his implements calls on her to revenge him.

I call special attention to the fact that in this, as in a great number of Italian witch incantations, the deity or spirit who is worshipped, be it Diana herself or Laverna, is threatened with torment by a higher power until he or she grants the favour demanded. This is quite classic (Grecco-Roman or Oriental) in all of which sources the magician relies not on favour, aid, or power granted by either God or Satan, but simply on what he has been able to wrench and wring, as it were, out of infinite nature or the primal source by penance and study. I mention this because a reviewer has reproached me with exaggerating the degree to which diabolism – introduced by the Church since 1500 – is deficient in Italy. But in fact, among the higher classes of witches, or in their traditions, it is hardly to be found at all. In Christian diabolism the witch never dares to threaten Satan or God, or any of the Trinity or angels, for the whole system is based on the conception of a Church and of obedience.

The herb concordia probably takes its name from that of the goddess Concordia, who was represented as holding a branch. It plays a great part in witchcraft, after verbena and rue.

Today Is …

Witchcraft

Today Is …

 

Floralia, Roman Festival of Flora Goddess of Prostitutes. She was secretly known as “Mother of Rome.” Celebrate your knowledge of Her sexual secrets.

St. Zita If you frequently misplace your keys, you probably need to know about St Zita, who is invoked for help finding keys, apparently because she was a sanctimonious Italian serving girl who frequently gave away her master’s bread (and even his fur cloak) to beggars. Apparently she also misplaced his keys from time to time. During her ecstasies, angels baked her bread, so she is also the patron of bakers, housewives and servants
Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press, 1999

Africa: In the African republic of Mali, a mythical half-man, half-animal being called Tyi Wara is honored by farmers on this date with songs and dance. The Bambara tribe believe that Tyi Wara was send to Earth by the Nature Gods to each human beings the necessary skills of farming.

Voudun: Dan Wè Zo, alias St Louis Cleimeille

1991 As many as 70 tornadoes hit the states of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Thousands were left homeless; there were 23 fatalities.

28 May 3:The three day Festival of Flora and Venus, or the Florialia in Rome; Goddess of Sexuality and Spring flowers.

30: Walpurgisnacht celebrated by German witches

Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

 

Celebrating Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Quirinalia and The Feast of Fools

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments

February 17th

Quirinalia and The Feast of Fools

Quirinalia was a first fruits festival that honored Quirinus, the name given by the Romans to the deified Romulus. As a divinity, Quirinus ranked as one of Rome’s most important patrons, along with Mars, Jupiter and Juno.

Early Rome was divided into 30 curiae, each of which had its own day in February for the performing of the Fornacalia, or first-fruits offering to Ceres of toasted emmer-wheat. As the city expanded, the curiae were displaced by the new divisions known as “tibus.” As a result, many people did not know which curiae they belonged to. Because of the confusion they were allowed to make the sacrifice on the Quirinalia, which came to be called “The Feast of Fools.”

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Today’s Tarot Card for Feb. 14 is The Emperor

The Emperor

Friday, Feb 14th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the most practical terms, what has traditionally been called the Emperor card represents the highest leadership, a head of state or the most exemplary and powerful person in the realm. This archetypal ruler is responsible for the positive working out of affairs of a society or community, which are directly proportional to his well being and happiness.

The more enlightenment and cosmic perspective this energy brings, the better life is for all. The Emperor archetype masters the world of matter and physical manifestation. When you apply this card to your situation, acknowledge your potentials for mastery. Reinforce a sense of sovereignty within yourself, despite any self-limiting beliefs, habits or appearances to the contrary.

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