Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ante Diem XIV Kalendas September

Modern Date : August 19th

Ante Diem XIV Kalendas September
The Vinalia Rustica

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

Vinalia Rustica
This was the second or rustic Vinalia, when the priests plucked the year's first ripe grapes and asked Jupiter to protect the growing vines. Houses and gardens were dedicated to Venus. It's interesting that it falls so close to the Blessing of the Grapes, done under the auspices of Mary. Venus was invoked with this prayer, "I beseech Minerva and Venus, of whom one protects the olive yard and the other the garden." It was celebrated as a holiday for all vintners and kitchen gardeners and a time for picnicking outdoors.

It was also the dedication day of the temple of Venus Libitina, which was the headquarters for Roman undertakers and the poor people's burial ground, which also became a gathering place for undesirables.

The emperor Probus was born at Sirmium (near Belgrade) this day in 232 AD. At age 50 he was murdered near Sirmium and buried there.

Augustus died this day at Nola in Campania in 14 AD. He was 76.

This day was also the dies natalis(birthday) for the temple of Venus.

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.

The full moon festival of August is one of the most ancient, continuously celebrated festivals in honor of the Goddess. It was first mentioned by the Greeks who honored Hecate and Artemis on the 15th day of Metageitnion. The goddesses were invoked and beseech for protection from summer storms, which could flatten and destroy the crops standing in the fields, ready for harvest. Garlic was left on stones as an offering to Hecate at crossroads, places where three roads meet. Hecate is usually pictured holding two torches, one pointed up and one pointed down. She mediates between the worlds.

In Rome, the Greek lunar calendar was placed on the fixed solar calendar on August 13 and called the Nemoralia, which would be the full moon if the new moon coincided with the first of the month. Not very much later, the Catholic church chose August 15th as the holiday for honoring the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The date was chosen to coincide with the thirteenth of Ab, the Jewish lunar month.

Procession of Horus to Neith
This is the 2nd day of the month of Paopi according to the Egyptian calendar. There was a Procession of Horus to Neith. Neith was a goddess of the hunt. She may have also been a war goddess. Her worship dates from pre dynastic history. In early times she was called 'mother of the gods' and 'Great Goddess'. She was considered the guardian of men and gods.

Later, Neith was seen as a protector of the dead, she is often seen standing with Nephthys at the head of coffins. Or assisting Aset (Isis), Nephthys, and Serqet to guard the Canopic jars. As 'Opener of the Ways', she was a guide in the underworld, a female Anubis. In the Eighteenth Dynasty she took on the attributes of Hathor, as a protector of women. As a creative deity she was said to be the wife of Khnum at Elephantine. She was appealed to for her wisdom as an arbitrator during the great quarrel of Heru (Horus) and Seth.

Neith assumed the role of state deity during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, when the kings of Sais repelled the invading Assyrians and reunited Egypt. This period lasted for about a century and a half and the tendency in art and religion was to try to regain the glories of the past. This was a suitable time for the worship of an ancient goddess.

Odin's Ordeal Day Three
This is the third day commemorating Odin's Ordeal on the world tree Yggdrasil. Yggdrasil ("The Terrible One's Horse"), is the giant ash tree that links and shelters all the worlds. Beneath the three roots the realms of Asgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim are located. Three wells lie at its base: the Well of Wisdom (Mímisbrunnr), guarded by Mimir; the Well of Fate (Urdarbrunnr), guarded by the Norns; and the Hvergelmir (Roaring Kettle), the source of many rivers.

Four deer run across the branches of the tree and eat the buds; they represent the four winds. There are other inhabitants of the tree, such as the squirrel Ratatosk ("swift teeth"), a notorious gossip, and Vidofnir ("tree snake"), the golden cock that perches on the topmost bough. The roots are gnawed upon by Nidhogg and other serpents. On the day of Ragnarok, the fire giant Surt will set the tree on fire.

St Sebald
An obscure saint who is the patron of Nuremberg. In one legend, he tells a peasant woman to throw icicles in the fire because there is no fuel. Thus he is invoked during cold spells. He was a Hermit, missionary, and a patron saint of Nuremberg. Most likely an Anglo-Saxon from England, he arrived on the Continent and became a hermit near Vicenza, Italy, and then participated in the missionary enterprise of the times, assisting in the work. of St. Willibald in the Reichswald. Many miracles were attributed to him, including turning icicles into firewood.

Ante Diem XV Kalendas September

Modern Date : August 18th

Ante Diem XV Kalendas September
Fifteenth Day to the Kalends of September

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

The Temple of the deified Julius at the east end of the forum was dedicated this day in 29 BCE.

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.

Odin's Ordeal Day Two
This is the second day commemorating Odin's Ordeal on the world tree Yggdrasil. There was a tree that spread its branches through all the worlds and that had its roots in three of the worlds. That tree was named Yggdrasil. One of its roots was in Asgarth, one was in Jotunheim, and one was in Niflheim that was the World of the Dead. The root that was in Niflheim was beside a well. Therein was the dreadful serpent, Nithogg: Nithogg gnawed for ever at the root of the World Tree, wanting to destroy it. And Ratatosk, the squirrel, ran up and down Yggdrasil making trouble between the eagle that was at the top of the tree and the serpent that was below. He went to tell the serpent how the eagle was bent upon tearing him to pieces, and he went back to tell the eagle how the serpent planned to devour him. Beside the root of the tree in Jotunheim was a well guarded by old Mimir the Wise. Whoever drank out of this well would know all of the things that are to come to pass. And beside the root that was in Asgarth was another well: the three sisters who are the Norns guarded it, and their names were Urth, Verthandi, and Skuld – Past, Present, and Future; they took the water of the well and watered Yggdrasil with it that the Tree of the World might be kept green and strong. This well was called Urda's well. Two swans were on the water of it; they made music that the Dwellers in Asgarth often heard. On the branches of the tree four stags grazed; they shook from their horns the water that fell as rain in Mithgarth. And on the topmost branch of Yggdrasil, the branch that was so high that the Gods themselves could hardly see it, was perched the eagle that the serpent was made to fear. Upon the beak of the eagle a hawk perched, a hawk that saw what the eyes of the eagle could not see.

Full Moon in Aquarius
Full Moon in Aquarius, opposite Sun in Leo. Complementary fire and air relationships, especially favorable for creative teamwork with friends. The energy of this Full Moon is notably beneficent, with Pluto in Sagittarius trine (120° from) the Sun and sextile (60°from) the Moon. Other "benefic" aspects abound: Jupiter in Libra trine Neptune in Aquarius -- the uncommonly lucky "windfall" aspect -- Mars in Taurus sextile Uranus in Pisces, and Venus in Libra sextile Saturn in Leo, now no longer in baleful opposition to Chiron, which has moved retrograde from Aquarius back into Capricorn. The upshot of this is a week of relative harmony and equanimity, much needed amid the heat of high summer. This Full Moon is the Corn Moon in the Wiccan calendar.

Raksha Bandhan
In the festival calendar of India, this Full Moon is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan, honoring the sacred link of love between brother and sister. As Raksha means "protection" and Bandhan means "bond," the ritual of the day is to tie a sacred yellow thread around one's wrist -- right for men, left for women -- and to remove it three months later, at the festival of the Goddess Lakshmi, and tie it to the tail of a cow. It is believed that when death comes, the cow will kindly allow the wearer to cling to her tail, and cross the river Bhaitarna with her. It is also customary for brothers and sisters to exchange cards and small gifts at Raksha Bandhan.

Guru Purnima
In the Hindu Calendar, this Full Moon in the month of Ashadh is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima. Also known as Vyas Purnima, the day commemorates and venerates the great sage Ved Vyas. He is the Adi Guru -- that is, the root teacher, the original master -- of the Hindu Dharma, who classified the Vedas and wrote the eighteen Puranas. He is also the author of The Mahabharata.

For Theravadin Buddhists, this Full Moon of the seventh lunar month is the time to celebrate Dhammachakka, the first teaching of the Buddha; and Wessana, the first day of a three-month retreat during which the Buddha realized the teaching of the Eightfold Path.

Chung Yuan, Moon of the Hungry Ghosts
The Chinese honor the dead on the fifteenth day (full moon) of the 7th lunar month. At twilight, boys light lanterns made of lotus leaves (with candles inserted in the deep hollow of the leaf so they make a beautiful glow through the green leaf) and go through the streets singing:

Lotus-leaf candles! Lotus-leaf candles!
Today you are lighted. Tomorrow thrown away.

Another decoration, called an artemisia lantern, is made from artemisia plants which are rolled into ropes of glutinous incense and lit, so they gleam like moving fireflies (from the description I would guess these are much like braided sweetgrass). Merchants decorate their shops with colored paper cut-outs of lotus blossoms, lotus leaves, flower baskets, herons and egrets, which they call lotus-flower lanterns.

Special customs help out spirits who are homeless, who have no descendents to pray for them, or who drowned and therefore have no resting place. In Buddhist temples, people make "a boat of Buddhist law," sometimes thirty or forty feet long, out of paper, which will carry them across the sea of want, hunger, thirst and torment and enable them to reach Nirvana. The boat is burned in the evening. Li-Chen notes that this festival was made popular by Amogha Vajra who came to china from northern India in 719.

Each Buddhist temple forms a Yu Lan society which lights lanterns and recites sutras for the wandering souls. Offerings are set out with different kinds fruit, which were said to nurture virtue. In Peking, people went to the Grand Canal to watch the members of one Yu Lan Society perform various entertainments, like stilt walking or lion dances. During the evening, lanterns were lit and set adrift on the waters, while pepole walked along the banks carrying lotus lanterns.

St Helena
On Old British legends say that Helena was the daughter of Old King Cole and married the British officer, Constantine, who later became Emperor of Rome, For political reasons, he repudiated her and married Theodora, the daughter-in-law of the previous Emperor Maximilian. When Helena's son, Constantine, became Emperor and Christian, she too converted. She sponsored several excavations looking for the Holy Cross. Supposedly she also located the crosses on which the good and bad thieves were crucified which means she can be invoked for help in discovering thieves.