Thursday, August 04, 2005

Pridie Nonas August

Modern Date : August 4th

Pridie Nonas August
Day before the Nones of August

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

On this day in 59 BCE, the senate proposed repealing the exile of Cicero and he began his return from Greece, leaving from Dyrrachium.

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.

New Moon conjunct Sun in Leo
New Moon conjunct Sun in Leo. One of the true power points of the year, as the electrical, masculine energy of the Sun, ruler of Leo, is complemented by the magnetic, feminine energy of the Moon, who is still almost fully-charged after her recent exit from her home sign of Cancer. This year's Leo New Moon is very highly charged, with Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune and the Moon's North Node all in major relationships with the Moon and Sun.

Loch-mo-Naire, a lake in Strathnavon, Sutherlandshire, Scotland, famous for its supposed miraculous healing qualities was the site of an annual pilgrimage this time of the year.

Until the mid 1800s, the healing Loch-mo-Naire was a site of pilgrimage for the lame, sick, impotent, and mentally ill. Gathering at the shore at midnight, the sick would drink some of the water, strip, and walk backwards into the loch. After immersing themselves three times, they would throw offerings of silver coins into the depths.

Tradition, as usual, has its easy explanation as to the manner in which the loch obtained its peculiar virtues and the name which it now bears. A woman had somehow become the possessor of bright crystal stones which when placed in water had the power of rendering the liquid an infallible cure for all "the ills to which flesh is heir." The fame of the wonder-working pebbles soon spread far and wide. As it spread it excited the cupidity of a member of the neighboring clan Gordon, who determined to secure the miraculous crystals for the exclusive use of himself and his kin. To make sure of his purpose, he feigned sickness. As soon, however, as he presented himself, the woman divined his intention and fled. But escape was impossible, as she was advanced in years and her pursuer had youth and swiftness on his side. Yet rather than surrender her charm-stones she threw them into the first lake to which she came, exclaiming, as she did, Mo naire! - i.e., "shame!" - and declaring that its waters should heal all who dipped in them or drank of them, excepting such as belonged to the accursed Gordon tribe.

This tradition, like many a similar one, is evidently very much more recent than the superstition connected with the lake. Loch-mo-Naire does not really mean "the loch of shame," but "the serpent's loch," - the word for serpent, nathair, being pronounced exactly in the same way was naire, "shame." This manifestly points to the great archaeological fact that almost everywhere the serpent is represented as the guardian of waters supposed to possess curative virtues (as in Naga, the Indian water spirits). It is also the recognized emblem of Aesculapius, the god of the healing art, who himself sometimes appeared in the form of a serpent. It interresting that Pagans believe that the serpent is a healer, while to Christians the serpent is the devil.

Corn Dance Festival
Among the Zuni, Pueblo and other Native peoples of the American southwest, the Corn Dance Festival honors Mother Earth and the Corn Maidens for an abundant maize harvest. Like the Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony that comes at the same time of the New Moon in Aquarius -- while the Sun is in Leo -- this rite is one of atonement to clear the fields of human fear and ill will, and of prayer and thanksgiving for he gift of grain.

Dom Perignon
On this day in 1693, the blind Benedictine and master herbalist Dom Perignon realized champagne. After a few quality assessment sips, he called to one of the other monks, "Look, brother, I have been drinking stars!"


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