Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ante Diem XVIII Kalendas January

Modern Date : December 15th Market Day

Ante Diem XVIII Kalendas January
Eighteenth Day to the Kalends of January

This day is for special religious observance.

The Consualia
This day is sacred to Consus, the deity of Time, or who we sometimes personify as Father Time, whose exit we celebrate with the coming new year. The Temple of Consus is uncovered on this day and opened to public worship. Horse races and mule races were held in the Circus Maximus in his honor. As part of the ceremonies, the rex sacrorum would appear in full garb riding his horse-drawn chariot once around the Circus Maximus.

The emperor Nero, one of the most incompetent emperors ever to hold power, was born this day in 37 AD. He was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Antium (Anzio). Spoiled from birth, he was incapable of handling the affairs of state and spent his days languishing in feasts, orgies, and musical and poetic entertainment.

Decima, the middle Fate in charge of the present, presides over December, but the month may have received its name as the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Vesta, patroness of fire also laid claim to the month of December.

Full Moon in Gemini
Full Moon in Gemini, opposite Sun in Sagittarius. This Full Moon is typically one of the year's most festive and joyous, combining as it does the hearty enthusiasm and cheer of Jupiter, ruler of the sign of the Archer, and the quick communicativeness of Mercury, who rules Gemini, both aligned at the feast-while-you-can moment just before the onset of winter.

Note, however, that Pluto in Sagittarius conjoins the Sun, thereby suggesting that this time there will be weightier and more urgent priorities at hand, and holiday geasting may have the status of a lucury this time around.

In Celtic/Druidic and Wiccan calendars, this December Full Moon is called Oak Moon. Also Moon of the Long Nights, as this Full Moon is often closest to Mother Night and the Winter Solstice.

At Kasuga Shrine in Japan's ancient capital of Nara, the gods are treated to an amazing four-day performance of music, theatre and dance at the On-Matsuri (winter festival). This is one of the world's many December feasts in which sacred images are removed from their shrines, purified and reinstalled. The rare feature of the On-Matsuri is that the gods are placed in a temporary shrine fronted by a stage on which they, and humans who also like to come and watch, get to see for four days any and every kind of traditional performance Japan has.

Rural Dionysion
The ancient Greeks celebrated this holiday at different times in different neighborhoods but usually around the time of the full moon in Poseidon. Plutarch complained that the rustic festival he remembered from his youth, featuring a jar of wine, a vine, a goat, a basket of raisins and a depiction of a phallus had been replaced with an elaborate procession featuring gold vessels, decorated horses and people wearing costumes and masks. This was a time for revelry including phallic songs, games (the kind played at church picnics like one-legged hopping or playing tag) and eventually, under the influence of the City Dionysia at Athens, the production of plays.


Anonymous Ross said...

Interesting how the Japanes and Hopi and Zuni peoples have a similar custom of removing their sacred objects and ourifying them.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Aereaus said...

Hey Ross...

Well there's alot of new evidence in archeology that suggests tht there was plenty of contact between Japan and the Western US, prior to the European invaisions. So no problem there.

Happy Solstice!

9:07 AM  

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