Deities Associated with Saturday – Saturn, Roman God

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Deities Associated with Saturday – Saturn, Roman God

Saturn is perhaps best known today for his annual winter festival of debauchery, called the Saturnalia, which falls in December. However, for the ancient Romans, he was an important agricultural deity, holding various associations both with the planting season and with time itself. Similar to the Greek god Cronus, Saturn is credited with giving the gift of agriculture to the Romans.

A temple was erected to Saturn at the base of the Capitoline hill in Rome, where it housed the state treasury.

Not much is known about Saturn in his Roman persona, because there is so much overlap between him and the Greek Cronus. While it is possible the some variant of Saturn was worshiped as early as the pre-Roman Etruscans, it’s difficult for scholars to tell what attributes were originally Roman, and which were Greek.

In general, one thing that academics do agree on is that Saturn’s festival, the Saturnalia, was held each year during the month of December. By contrast, festivals honoring Cronus took place in the summer.

Businesses and court proceedings closed up for the entire Saturnalia celebration, and food and drink were everywhere to be had.

Elaborate feasts and banquets were held, and it wasn’t unusual to exchange small gifts at these parties. A typical Saturnalia gift might be something like a writing tablet or tool, cups and spoons, clothing items, or food. Citizens decked their halls with boughs of greenery, and even hung small tin ornaments on bushes and trees. Bands of naked revelers often roamed the streets, singing and carousing – a sort of naughty precursor to today’s Christmas caroling tradition.

A great statue of Saturn stood in the temple, and interestingly enough, it was filled with oil – likely olive oil, given his status as an agricultural god. In addition, the statue’s feet were wrapped in wool, and the strips were only unbound during the Saturnalia. In addition to merrymaking, street celebrations, and social role reversals, there were sacrifices made to Saturn for a bountiful harvest during the coming year.
 

Author

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

Fun and Useless Facts about all those ‘Fat Tuesday’ Traditions

Magic in the woods
Fun and Useless Facts about all those ‘Fat Tuesday’ Traditions

This year’s Mardi Gras, a festival marked by an endless cyclone of feathers, costumes, beads and booze that whips through city streets all over the world, is well underway. It’s been called the wildest fete in the U.S., and for good reason: Every year, droves of partygoers flock to New Orleans to take in the floats, the festivities and the food, and to leave their mark on the Big Easy.

Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, has its origins in medieval Europe. What became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875 was once a Christian holiday with roots in ancient Rome. Instead of outright abolishing certain pagan traditions, like the wild Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, religious leaders decided to incorporate them into the new faith.

What became known as the Carnival season was a kick-off to Lent, a sort of last hurrah before 40 days of penance sandwiched between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Eventually, the celebration spread from Rome across Europe to the colonies of the New World.

Since its early days in New Orleans in the early 18th century, Mardi Gras has grown to colossal proportions and includes several familiar traditions, like bead throwing, mask wearing and coconut painting, that are widely practiced today but whose origins may have been forgotten.
Here are the real meanings of five popular Mardi Gras Traditions.

The Wearing Of Masks
Masks are an integral part of Mardi Gras culture. During early Mardi Gras celebrations hundreds of years ago, masks were a way for their wearers to escape class constraints and social demands. Mask wearers could mingle with people of all different classes and could be whomever they desired, at least for a few days.

In New Orleans, float riders are required by law to have a mask on. On Fat Tuesday, masking is legal for all Mardi Gras attendees – although many storeowners will post signs asking those entering to please remove their masks first.

The Flambeaux Tradition
Flambeaux, meaning flame-torch, was the tradition of people carrying shredded rope soaked in pitch through the streets so that nighttime revelers could enjoy festivities after dark. They were originally carried by slaves and free African Americans trying to earn a little money. Crowds tossed coins at the torch carriers for lighting the way for the floats.

Today, flambeaux carriers have turned the tradition into something of a performance. Torch bearers dance and spin their kerosene lights – something the original parade planners didn’t intend.

The Throwing Of Beads
The tradition of bead throwing starts with their original colors. The color of the beads was determined by the king of the first daytime Carnival in 1872. He wanted the colors to be royal colors – purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith. The idea was to toss the color to the person who exhibited the color’s meaning.

The beads were originally made of glass, which, as you can imagine, weren’t the best for tossing around. It wasn’t until the beads were made of plastic that throwing them really became a staple of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Rex, The King of Carnival
Every year in New Orleans, a king is crowned. His name is Rex, the king of the Carnival, and he first ascended to the throne in 1872. History has it that the very first Rex was actually the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia who, upon a visit to the U.S., befriended U.S. Army officer George Armstrong Custer during a planned hunting expedition in the Midwest.

The Duke’s visit to Louisiana was organized by New Orleans businessmen looking to lure tourism and business to their city following the devastating American Civil War.
Every year, the Rex Organization chooses a new Rex, always a prominent person in New Orleans. He is given the symbolic Key to the City by the Mayor.

Handing Out Zulu Coconuts
The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the oldest traditionally black krewes – or parade hosts – in Mardi Gras history. The organization is known for handing out Zulu coconuts, or “golden nuggets.” The earliest reference to these coconuts appears in 1910.

The first coconuts were left in their original hairy state, but years later, Zulu members started painting and decorating them. Getting a Zulu coconut is one of the most sought after traditions during Mardi Gras.

By Philip Ross
International Business Times

Celebrating Folklore, Legends & Spirituality 365 Days a Year for December 28th & 29th – Holy Innocents’ Day, Feast of Fools

Winter Images

December 28th & 29th

Holy Innocents’ Day, Feast of Fools

Holy Innocents’ Day is the third day of Christmas and considered to be the unluckiest days of the year. It is held that on this day all children under 2 years of age were slaughtered by Herod in an attempt to eliminate the Infant Jesus–the predicted king of the Jews. The star is associated with this day, and the Innocents are the patrons of all children and foundlings.

A popular holiday during the Middle Ages, the “Feast of Fools” captured the light-hearted spirit of Saturnalia. On this day, roles were reversed, masters waited on their servants, and the often-puritanical reverence of the Christmas season was replaced with frivolity and pleasure.

The Witches Almanac for Thursday, December 24th

Winter Angel **** Winterengel
The Witches Almanac for Thursday, December 24th

Thursday (Jupiter): Expansion, money, prosperity, and generosity.

Christmas Eve

 

Waxing Moon
The Waxing Moon (from the New Moon to the Full) is the ideal time for magic to draw things toward you.

Moon phase: Second Quarter

Moon Sign: Gemini
Gemini: Things begun now are easily changed by outside influence. Time for shortcuts, communication, games, and fun.

Incense: Clove

Color: Green

December 18th, Three Days Before Yule – Eponalia

Yule Comments & Graphics

Eponalia

(Roman/Celtic)

Eponalia is a day dedicated to the goddess Epona, it falls on the 2nd day of Saturnalia.

Epona is the patron goddess of horses, donkeys, mules and other animals, her name translates as “Divine Mare”. She is a powerful Gallo-Celtic goddess who is also associated with the Earth, fertility, rebirth and abundance, making her a Mother Goddess.

She is often depicted as a young maiden, either riding a horse (which was revered in the Celtic world for it’s beauty, speed and bravery), or standing between 2 horses. She often carries a cornucopia and basket, which further supports her role as a fertility and abundance goddess. People would adorn pictures and statues of her with rose garlands, in the shrines.

Horses were very important to our ancestors and cults worshipping horses was commonplace. They left much evidence to show how significant horses were to them, such as The White Horse of Uffington.

The origins of Epona are thought to have started in the Gallic region of northern France. She has many guises, being worshipped in Wales as Rhiannon and in Ireland as Macha. She is the only Gallo-Celtic goddess that made her way into the Roman Empire and was highly worshipped amongst the Roman cavalry, almost every stable had a shrine for her.

Celebrating 365 Days of Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for December 17 – 23 – Saturnalia

December 17 thru 23

Saturnalia

Out of all the ancient Roman festivals this was the most beloved. The festival grew out of the dedication-day of a temple to Saturnus, the God of seed and sowing. It is also equated with the Greek Kronos, father of Zeus, and supreme God during the age of the Golden Race. It was believed that Saturn had been the king of Italy in a time of equality and abundance.

The festival began with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, which was followed by a great public banquet. During the Saturnalia, all shops and schools were closed, and gambling-usually usually prohibited-was allowed. Each household chose a mock king to preside over the festivities, masters waited on their slaves, presents were given, and the entire household celebrated. Many of the time-honored traditions and customs of Saturnalia were absorbed into the later Christian Christmas that fell on December 25.

 

The Witches Almanac for Thursday, December 17th

The Witches Almanac for Thursday, December 17th

Thursday (Jupiter): Expansion, money, prosperity, and generosity.

Saturnalia (Roman)

 

Waxing Moon

The Waxing Moon (from the New Moon to the Full) is the ideal time for magic to draw things toward you.

Moon Phase: First Quarter

Moon Sign: Pisces

Pisces: The focus is on dreaming, nostalgia, intuition, and psychic impressions. A good time for spiritual or philanthropic activities.

Incense: Mulberry

Color: White

 

The 17th Day Before Yule – Saturnalia


Yule Comments & Graphics

Saturnalia Begins

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”

In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of innocence. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.

Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects. The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for information about the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius’s work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25

Calendar of the Sun for December 18th

Calendar of the Sun

18 Yulmonath

Saturnalia Day 2: Saturn’s Release

Colors: Black and Gold
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of black place eight gold candles, each surrounded by gold coins, a bottle of good wine and many cups, and the figure of a seated man, wrapped in a chain.
Offerings: Throw over routines and take joy.
Daily Meal: Anything that the folk of the House want, correct or otherwise.

Invocation of Saturn’s Release

Hail to the Lord of Discipline,
Saturn bound in chains.
Hail to the Old Man of Time
With your fearsome sickle,
Lord of the Hourglass, the Sundial,
All that places restrictions on the bright,
The beautiful, the free and easy.
You live an existence bound in chains,
But at this time of the year, dark and cold,
We release you from your bonds!
We acknowledge that order cannot be held
Without respecting that which is chaos,
And so we pay for the blessed order of our lives,
The gift of Saturn, and Eunomia, and many others,
By these days of release from that Order.
We release you, O Lord of Limitations,
And pray that you, and we, shall be glad
Once more to place these chains about you
And about ourselves. Hail Saturn!

(All cry out “Hail Saturn!” The chain is unwound from about the seated statue of Saturn, and the wine is poured. All toast to the Gods and to many other things, and go off to do what they will. From this point until Arktos of the night of Yule, rules are loosened if not entirely done away with. There is no work today during Akte and Elete, and folk may do what they will until Hesperis. All work done, and all hours attended to, will be by choosing and not by rule. Waking and sleeping will come as they will. For many folks, this will be a time to leave the House and visit family.)

Song: Any that the House chooses.

[Pagan Book of Hours]