Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nonas August

Modern Date : August 5th

Nonas August
The Nones of August

This is one of the dies fasti on which legal actions are permitted.

The rex sacrorum would appear on the steps of the Capitol on this day and announce to the people what days of the months would be holidays.

This day was dedicated to Salus, the abstract deification of Health and Wealth. From the name salus comes our word salubrious, meaning good health. A temple to Salus was consecrated on the Quirinal.

Cicero, returning from exile in 59 BCE, arrived in Brundisium this day and met his daughter Tullia, whose birthday it was. It was also the commemoration of the Temple of Brundisium and the people celebrated both this and Cicero's happy return.

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.

Hazel Month begins
This is the 1st day of the 9th month in the 13 month Druidic calendar. The sequent letter for the month is C (or CC or Q) which is symbolic of the tree Nut, Apple, Sorb, or Quince. This fire month favors the activities of shapeshifters and of adepts who journey by means of astral projection. It has long been customary at this time to make new wands of hazel, especially for protection from storms.

Oyster Day
Londoners believe that if you eat an oyster today you will not want for money all year. This sentiment is expressed in the following rhyme from Hone's Every-Day Book, published in 1829, which describes the mad dash to Billingsgate where the fish market was located:

Greengrocers rise at dawn of sun
August the fifth — come haste away
To Billingsgate the thousands run
To Oyster Day! To Oyster Day!

Actually in England, the legal close season for oysters was 15 June to 4 August so this was actually the day after oyster season closed. But the common saying is that one should never eat oysters in months without an R, which would include August, as well as June and July.

Brigg Fair
The date of a famous horse fair held in Lincolnshire, mentioned in the lovely folk song: Horse-racing was a common activity at Lammas, particularly in Ireland.

It was on the 5th of August
The weather fair and fine
Unto Brigg FairI did repair
For love I was inclined.

Mary of the Snows
According to the legend, in the fourth century, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream on the same night to both Pope Liberius and a wealthy Roman couple who wished to leave their fortune to the church. She asked them to build a cathedral on the spot where it snowed in Rome on August 5th. It snowed that day on Esquiline Hill and the church of Santa Maria Maggiore was built on the spot.

Our Lady of the Snows became a favorite title of Mary in Italy and spread north to Germany and Switzerland., for instance there is a chapel of St Mary of the Snows on the Rigi, a mountain pilgrimage site in central Switzerland.

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!"