Saturday, August 13, 2005

Idus August

Modern Date : August 13th

Idus August
The Vertumnalia

This day is for special religious observance.

This day is sacred to Jupiter and is also known as the feriae Jovi, or Festival of Jove, and was once the day of the sixth full moon of the year, which made it the turning point of the sacral year. This day is also sacred to Diana, the goddess of the moon, and is also called the Festival of Diana. This deity is a celestial goddess and was often viewed as the female equivalent of Jupiter, though not his wife, who was Juno. A temple to Diana was consecrated this day on the Aventine hill. Cow horns, symbolic of Hercules, were hung in front of the temple on this day. In the evening women whose prayers had been answered made a torchlight priocession to the grove of Diana at Aricia.

The Vertumnalia
This day is also sacred to the god Vertumnus and the goddess Pomona. They are the patron deities of gardens and fruit orchards. Vertumnus was viewed as the male counterpart of Diana. This god was believed to be able to change shape, similar to the changing of fruit trees through the season. The name Pomona comes from pomus (fruit).

In the Greco-Roman world, this is one of the great annual festivals of Hecate, this time in her benign aspect as protectress of life amid the ferocious heat of the dog days. Hecate is also honored on this day in her virginal aspect as Artemis-Diana. Hecate's feast superseded an Egyptian festival honoring the ferocious lion-headed netert Sekhmet, and celebrating in particular her successful self-defense against a sexual attack by Set, neter of chaos and destruction. Both festivals emphasized protection from rape and other crimes against women.

This day is furthermore the dies natalis of the temples of Hercules, and to Castor and Pollux, the twin gods associated with horses, and is also used to honor Flora, the goddess of flowers, whose temple was dedicated on this day.

Octavian celebrated the first of his triple triumphs on this day in 29 BC.

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.

Games of Lugh, Peak of Perseids
The Perseid meteor showers peak on this night. Unfortunately this year, because the moon is approaching full, the best time to view them will be earlier in the month. For more information on meteor watching, check out these links:

The ancient Celts may have associated them with the light-bearing god Lugh, who is honored at Lughnasad (August 1)., since he is a hero-warrior like the Greek Perseus. The Irish also called the Perseids "St Lawrence's tears," perhaps indicating that the story of St Lawrence's trial by fire is a later rendition of the myth of Lugh.

One of the stars in the Perseus constellation is Algol, also called the Goron or Medusa. To the Arabs, it was the Demon Star; the Hebrews as Lilith. It was considered an unfortunate, violent and dangerous star by ancient astrologers. Helen Farias (Harvest Mysteries) points out that both Medusa, who Perseus beheaded, and Balor, who Lugh killed by stabbing his one fiery eye, were described as having malevolent or dangerous eyes.

Birth of the Universe
According to the Mayans, the universe began this day in the year 3114 BC. Our world is scheduled to end on December 23rd, 2012 at which time we will be freed from our earthly bonds to begin a galactic though somewhat cataclysmic voyage.

Church of Wicca
The Church of Wicca and the Aquarian Tabernacle Church was founded in Australia by Lady Tamara Von Forslon on this day in 1989.

Day of Destiny
In the Aztec calendar, the Day of Destiny. Like other Native Americans, the Aztecs envisioned human beings as connected to the Sky by a thread, and believed that those who lived in harmony with nature preserved the delicate thread, while those who violated nature's laws broke the thread irreparably. The Aztecs also saw the human body as a pattern of meridians reflecting the meridians of the sky.

Tishah B'Av
Tishah B'Av, the Dark Time, one of the year's more somber days of ceremony and fasting in the Jewish calendar, commemorating the suffering of the Jews from the destruction of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, and other calamities of ancient Jewish history.

The Japanese celebrate the Days of the Dead in the middle of summer, on either July 13-15 or August 13 - 15. On the first day of the festival, they decorate the graves of their ancestors with fruit, cakes and lanterns. On the second day, people set up spirit altars called tamadana in their homes. They set the memorial plaques of their ancestors on a rush mat, surrounded by vegetarian dishes and cucumbers carved to resemble horses on which the spirits can ride. The third day is the day for the bon-odori, a slow hypnotic dance performed in concentric circles or multiple lines. At evening, tiny lanterns are set adrift on rivers or seas, to light the way for the
souls returning to the other side.

St Radegund
St Radegund is one of the saints who took the place of the goddess as grain protectress, as described by Berger (The Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint, Beacon 1985). Married to the brutal and philandering Merovingian King Clotaire, she fled from her husband after he murdered his brother. He tried to track her down but she was miraculously protected, in a story similar to those told about Mary. She came upon a farmer sowing his field and instructed him to tell anyone asking that he had not seen anyone pass by since he sowed his oats. Whereupon the oats grew so abundantly that she could hide among them and when the farmer duly reported her message, her husband gave up his pursuit. Her unofficial feast day is in February when oats are sowed but it also seems significant that she should be honored at the time of the harvest and in the same month as Mary in her guise as Harvest Goddess.

She was the patron saint for women afflicted with the pox, who were supposed to apply the skin of a black lamb to their skin, then send their husbands on a pilgrimage to St Radegund.

Radegund founded a monastery at Poitiers which became famous for the quality of the meals she served, thus she is the patron saint of female cooks. Her chaplain, Fortunat, the patron saint of male cooks, wrote her a letter praising a meal she prepared for him:

"Next, a superb piece of meat, arranged in the shape of a mountain
and flanked by high hills, the spaces between which were filled with
a garden of various stews that included the most delicious products
of earth and water. A black earthenware jar provided me with milk
of the utmost whiteness: it was quite sure to please me."

St Cassian
Martyr mentioned in a hymn by St. Prudentius, also called Cassian of Tangiers. He was a court recorder at the trial of St. Marcellus the Centurion. Aurelius Agricola, deputy prefect in the Roman province in North Africa, conducted the trial. When the death penalty was imposed on St. Marcellus, Cassian threw down his pen and declared that he was a Christian. He was arrested immediately and put to death. Cassian is patron of modern stenographers. His pagan students stabbed him to death with their pen nibs.