Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ante Diem XVI Kalendas September

Modern Date : August 17th

Ante Diem XVI Kalendas September
The Portunalia

This day is for special religious observance.

The Portunalia is a festival sacred to Portunis, an alter-ego of the god Janus. The temple of Portunis was built at the port on the Tiber, and this is also called the Tiberinalia, or the festival of the Tiber river, as Portunis is the god of the Tiber. Portunis is also known as the god of keys, or the opening of locked gates, while as Janus he was the god of doors. On this day old keys were burned in the hearth as a sacrificial offering.

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.

Yggdrasil, Odin the Hanged Man
In the Norse tradition, the beginning of the 9-day ordeal of Odin, who hangs on the world ash tree Yggdrasil, pierced by his own spear, until the moment when he falls screaming from the tree, having seen at last the secret of the runes. This discovery of universal knowledge is celebrated in a climactic festival on 8/25. The image of the god hanging in suspension as he surrenders to the ordeal of wisdom is closely related to the figure of the Hanged Man in the Tarot, and to Native American Sun Dance rituals, in which young men hang from a giant wooden wheel symbolizing the Sun. This excruciating rite, in which each warrior is suspended from the wheel by a cord fastened to sharp wooden pegs pushed through his chest muscles, is also said to bring mystical knowledge to those who can endure it. This feast is also closely related to many ancient myths of the solar hero and savior who is killed in the prime of his vitality, and dies hanging from, or sealed within, or nailed to a tree.

Cat Nights
Someone thought that cats deserved their own month-long holiday after the Dog Days and decided that this was the starting date for it.
Makes sense to me.