Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ante Diem XV Kalendas September

Modern Date : August 18th

Ante Diem XV Kalendas September
Fifteenth Day to the Kalends of September

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

The Temple of the deified Julius at the east end of the forum was dedicated this day in 29 BCE.

August was originally called Sextilis, or the sixth month (after March). It was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar, the most revered of the Roman emperors.

Odin's Ordeal Day Two
This is the second day commemorating Odin's Ordeal on the world tree Yggdrasil. There was a tree that spread its branches through all the worlds and that had its roots in three of the worlds. That tree was named Yggdrasil. One of its roots was in Asgarth, one was in Jotunheim, and one was in Niflheim that was the World of the Dead. The root that was in Niflheim was beside a well. Therein was the dreadful serpent, Nithogg: Nithogg gnawed for ever at the root of the World Tree, wanting to destroy it. And Ratatosk, the squirrel, ran up and down Yggdrasil making trouble between the eagle that was at the top of the tree and the serpent that was below. He went to tell the serpent how the eagle was bent upon tearing him to pieces, and he went back to tell the eagle how the serpent planned to devour him. Beside the root of the tree in Jotunheim was a well guarded by old Mimir the Wise. Whoever drank out of this well would know all of the things that are to come to pass. And beside the root that was in Asgarth was another well: the three sisters who are the Norns guarded it, and their names were Urth, Verthandi, and Skuld – Past, Present, and Future; they took the water of the well and watered Yggdrasil with it that the Tree of the World might be kept green and strong. This well was called Urda's well. Two swans were on the water of it; they made music that the Dwellers in Asgarth often heard. On the branches of the tree four stags grazed; they shook from their horns the water that fell as rain in Mithgarth. And on the topmost branch of Yggdrasil, the branch that was so high that the Gods themselves could hardly see it, was perched the eagle that the serpent was made to fear. Upon the beak of the eagle a hawk perched, a hawk that saw what the eyes of the eagle could not see.

Full Moon in Aquarius
Full Moon in Aquarius, opposite Sun in Leo. Complementary fire and air relationships, especially favorable for creative teamwork with friends. The energy of this Full Moon is notably beneficent, with Pluto in Sagittarius trine (120° from) the Sun and sextile (60°from) the Moon. Other "benefic" aspects abound: Jupiter in Libra trine Neptune in Aquarius -- the uncommonly lucky "windfall" aspect -- Mars in Taurus sextile Uranus in Pisces, and Venus in Libra sextile Saturn in Leo, now no longer in baleful opposition to Chiron, which has moved retrograde from Aquarius back into Capricorn. The upshot of this is a week of relative harmony and equanimity, much needed amid the heat of high summer. This Full Moon is the Corn Moon in the Wiccan calendar.

Raksha Bandhan
In the festival calendar of India, this Full Moon is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan, honoring the sacred link of love between brother and sister. As Raksha means "protection" and Bandhan means "bond," the ritual of the day is to tie a sacred yellow thread around one's wrist -- right for men, left for women -- and to remove it three months later, at the festival of the Goddess Lakshmi, and tie it to the tail of a cow. It is believed that when death comes, the cow will kindly allow the wearer to cling to her tail, and cross the river Bhaitarna with her. It is also customary for brothers and sisters to exchange cards and small gifts at Raksha Bandhan.

Guru Purnima
In the Hindu Calendar, this Full Moon in the month of Ashadh is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima. Also known as Vyas Purnima, the day commemorates and venerates the great sage Ved Vyas. He is the Adi Guru -- that is, the root teacher, the original master -- of the Hindu Dharma, who classified the Vedas and wrote the eighteen Puranas. He is also the author of The Mahabharata.

For Theravadin Buddhists, this Full Moon of the seventh lunar month is the time to celebrate Dhammachakka, the first teaching of the Buddha; and Wessana, the first day of a three-month retreat during which the Buddha realized the teaching of the Eightfold Path.

Chung Yuan, Moon of the Hungry Ghosts
The Chinese honor the dead on the fifteenth day (full moon) of the 7th lunar month. At twilight, boys light lanterns made of lotus leaves (with candles inserted in the deep hollow of the leaf so they make a beautiful glow through the green leaf) and go through the streets singing:

Lotus-leaf candles! Lotus-leaf candles!
Today you are lighted. Tomorrow thrown away.

Another decoration, called an artemisia lantern, is made from artemisia plants which are rolled into ropes of glutinous incense and lit, so they gleam like moving fireflies (from the description I would guess these are much like braided sweetgrass). Merchants decorate their shops with colored paper cut-outs of lotus blossoms, lotus leaves, flower baskets, herons and egrets, which they call lotus-flower lanterns.

Special customs help out spirits who are homeless, who have no descendents to pray for them, or who drowned and therefore have no resting place. In Buddhist temples, people make "a boat of Buddhist law," sometimes thirty or forty feet long, out of paper, which will carry them across the sea of want, hunger, thirst and torment and enable them to reach Nirvana. The boat is burned in the evening. Li-Chen notes that this festival was made popular by Amogha Vajra who came to china from northern India in 719.

Each Buddhist temple forms a Yu Lan society which lights lanterns and recites sutras for the wandering souls. Offerings are set out with different kinds fruit, which were said to nurture virtue. In Peking, people went to the Grand Canal to watch the members of one Yu Lan Society perform various entertainments, like stilt walking or lion dances. During the evening, lanterns were lit and set adrift on the waters, while pepole walked along the banks carrying lotus lanterns.

St Helena
On Old British legends say that Helena was the daughter of Old King Cole and married the British officer, Constantine, who later became Emperor of Rome, For political reasons, he repudiated her and married Theodora, the daughter-in-law of the previous Emperor Maximilian. When Helena's son, Constantine, became Emperor and Christian, she too converted. She sponsored several excavations looking for the Holy Cross. Supposedly she also located the crosses on which the good and bad thieves were crucified which means she can be invoked for help in discovering thieves.


Blogger Ross Nantz said...

Is there a reason or reasons why Nithogg is/was so bent on destroying the world tree?

5:44 PM  
Blogger Aereaus said...

It's more a question of balance. The deer ate of the leaves of the tree, while Nithogg, the great serpent gnawed at the roots. It's like you can't have good without evil or order without chaos.

11:36 PM  

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