Ante Diem XII Kalendas November
Modern Date : October 21st
Ante Diem XII Kalendas November
Twelfth Day to the Kalends of November
This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.
St. Asterius was martyr on this day in 223 CE. Asterius buried the remains of Pope St. Callistus after the pontiff's execution by the Romans. Asterius was arrested for this pious act and drowned in the Tiber River at Ostia, Italy. His remains are enshrined in the cathedral of that city.
October was the eighth month of the old Roman calendar and was sacred to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis. The name October comes from Octo, meaning eight (March used to be the first month).
Today was the Mesopotamian festival of Ishhara, sometimes equated with Ishtar. Ishtar was the goddess of love, sex, fertility, and war. She is armed with a quiver and bow, and went down into the underworld to gain back her lover. Ishtar is often accompanied by a lion, and sometimes rides it. As Ishhara, she has a throne-base at the cedar mountain.
The cathedral of Cologne was built during the late 4th or early 5th century on the site of a tomb of a group of virgin martyrs. This story developed into a legend about Ursula, a British princess, who in order to avoid an unwanted marriage to a pagan prince, went on a pilgrimage to Rome with some companions. They were murdered by the Huns on their way home. The number of her companions changes from the early number of ten to eleven thousand. Ursula is the patron of girls' schools.
Helen Farias(The TBP Lunar-Solar Festival Calendar) says Ursula was originally the German bear goddess, Orsel, and wonders if her companions are the stars in the sky surrounding the constellation of the Bear. Ursa Major, the great She-Bear known to us as the Plough or Dipper. The monthly position of the Bear Goddess's tail at nightfall was used to announce the arrival of the seasons. The Great Bear was known to the Greeks as Artemis and in the Far East as Ma Tsu Po, Queen of Heaven.
On Norway, on this day, no work was to be done that involved using the wheel, such as spinning, milling, etc., suggesting a fascinating connection with the goddess of Fate.
The bear is a powerful symbol. Archaeologists have claimed that the bear is the oldest deity, based on the niches found in caves across Europe which hold the bones and skulls of bears, arranged with evident care. The word "bear" in English is related to maternity, as in "to bear" children. Bear mothers are known for their devotion. Buffie Johnson's book contains a reproduction of a bear sculpture from 5th century BCE Yugoslavia showing a bear cradling her cub like a Madonna.
Throughout the northern lands, bears are treated with great reverence. Some Scandinavian families claim bears as ancestors. The word mangi means bear in some Siberian dialects but "spirit of ancestors" in others. Lapp shamans transform themselves into bears when they drum. The word for a Siberian woman-shaman is the same as the word for bear.
In his book, Dawn Behind the Dawn, Geoffrey Ashe explores the association of the Greek Goddess, Artemis, with bears. In one myth, she transforms, Callisto, one of her maidens who has angered her, into a bear and then assigns her to the heavens as the constellation Ursa Major. At the temple of Artemis in Brauronia, during a festival held every five years, two young girls aged five and ten wore yellow bearskin robes and performed the bear dance. Ashe postulates that Indo-European tribes brought from the Northern countries the image of a bear goddess, associated with the Big Dipper, who became Artemis in Greece.