Friday, August 05, 2005

Ante Diem VIII Idus August

Modern Date : August 6th

Ante Diem VIII Idus August
Eighth Day to the Ides of August

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

The emperor Marjorian was beheaded by the barbarian Ricimer this day in 461 AD, leaving Ricimer, who was titled Patrician, in control of the western empire.

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.

Festival of Thoth
In the Egyptian Calendar, this day was the Festival of Thoth, Neter of literature, intuitive learning and prophetic arts. This festival, held on the 19th day of Thuthi, the month sacred to Thoth, begins the crucial time following the annual Nile inundation, when writing, sacred geometry and other arts invented by Thoth are used to determine the new pattern of earthly order, as cords stretched over the land mark the re-establishment of divine design after the floodwaters recede. In a prayer to Thoth the Egyptians would say: Suffer me to relate thy feats in whatever land I may be, Then the multitude of men shall say, "How great are the things that Thoth has done."

Thoth is the name given by the Greeks to the Egyptian god Djeheuty. Thoth was the god of wisdom, inventor of writing, patron of scribes and the divine mediator. He is most often represented as a man with the head of an ibis, holding a scribal palette and reed pen. He could also be shown completely as an ibis or a baboon.

As with most Egyptian deities there were many different stories regarding the parentage of Thoth. Many sources call him the son of Re, but one tradition has him springing forth from the head of Seth. This latter story is reminiscent of the birth of the Greek goddess Athena, who like Thoth was the patron divinity of wisdom.

Myths concerning Thoth show him as a divinity whose counsel is always sought. His most significant role is during the battles of Horus and Seth. Thoth is a staunch supporter of Horus and his mother Isis, maintaining that Horus' claim to the throne is just and the murderous Seth has no right to the kingship of Egypt. Elsewhere Thoth is a reliable mediator and peacemaker. When the goddess Tefnut had a dispute with her father Re and absconded to Nubia, it was Thoth that the sun-god sent to reason with her and bring her home. Thoth was also present at the judgement of the dead. He would question the deceased before recording the result of the weighing of the deceased's heart. If the result was favorable Thoth would declare the deceased as a righteous individual who was worthy of a blessed afterlife.

Thoth was also a lunar deity, and whatever form he took he wore a lunar crescent on his head. Some Egyptologists think that the Egyptians identified the crescent moon with the curved beak of the ibis. It is also suggested that the Egyptians observed that baboon was a nocturnal (i.e. lunar) animal who would greet the sun with chattering noises each morning.

As he was messenger of the gods Thoth was identified by the Greeks with their own god Hermes. For this reason Thoth's center of worship is still known to us today as Hermopolis.

Tan Hill Festival
Two days after the end of Tinne, the Tan Hill Festival (related to Lammas) takes place, commemorating personified holy fire, the Celtic Tienne or Tan. In August last year, thirty lean, sun-tanned, scruffy people pulled their handcarts, goats, donkeys and bow-topped wagons to the top of Tan Hill, near Devizes in Wiltshire. They claimed that a Royal Charter, issued in 1499, entitled them to hold a fair at Lammas on the summit.

The police arrived in six riot vans, three dog vans and a helicopter. As the revellers trooped back down the hill, the officer in charge said “When will you people realize that this is Wiltshire, andyou don’t belong here?” We pagans just get no respect.

This refers to the vision of Christ in glory, shining like the sun and talking to Elijah and Moses, witnessed by Peter, James and John. Perhaps it also refers to the mysteries of the grain and grapes which occur at this time of the year. It is observed on this date in Russia and other Eastern European countries, but in other places it is celebrated 98 days after Easter.Russians take apples to church to be blessed and then enjoy the first apples of the season (which should not be eaten before this date).

The Fiesta Agostinas (August feasts) are celebrated in El Salvador, despite the fact that this is the rainy season. Sixteen stewardesses are appointed to decorate their districts, organize feasts and contribute a float for the grand procession which features a massive float of the Savior of the World.