Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ante Diem III Idus September

Modern Date : September 11th

Ante Diem III Idus September
The Ludi Romani

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

The Ludi Romani, the great games in honor of Jupiter (Jove) continued this day and were celebrated through to the 19th.

September is the 'magical' seventh month (after March).

Venus enters Scorpio
Venus enters perilous territory in Scorpio, where she is "in detriment," her sexual energy more desperate and obsessive than playful and sensuous. Love has a certain relentless quality, and sex is more fanatical than fun, until Oct. 7.

Today is the start of the three day celebration of Nichiren and is held by the Japanese Buddhist sect in honor of its founder of the same name. He was an outspoken 13th century priest who angered the government. Arrested, he was sentenced to death by decapitation, but lightning struck the execution site. His sentence was reduced to exile on a nearby island. Freed from exile September 12, 1271, he spent the rest of his life teaching his form of Buddhism. During his celebration, his followers shout prayers while beating fan-shaped drums.

Enkutatash the Coptic New Year
The Enkutatash is held on this day in Ethiopia. Enkutatash means the "gift of jewels." When the Queen of Sheba returned with the Ark of the Covenant from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her by replenishing her treasury with inku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since these early times and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in the green countryside. Today's Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal new year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated - in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flowers.

The Copts, a Christian sect in Egypt, celebrate the beginning of the year when Sirius, the dog star (known as Sothis to the Egyptians) appeared in the skies, heralding the flooding of the Nile and the beginning of a new agricultural year. On this day, martyrs to the Coptic faith are remembered with the color red (seen in altar cloths and vestments) and by eating red dates (the hard pit symbolizes the unbreakable faith of the martyrs).

Enkutatash is celebrated by the Amahric people as St. John's Day and with customs similar to those found in European celebrations of midsummer. Girls dress up and gather wild flowers, which they give to their neighbors, often receiving a treat of dabo (roasted grain) in return. Boys go from house to house with lighted torches, singing "New Year" songs. A suprising book which details the Copts greatest treasure, "The Ark of the Covenant" is "The Sign and the Seal" by Graham Hancock. This was one of the books that started my explorations into comparative religion.

On the 9th day of Boedromion, the Greeks honored the god Pan, with a torch race probably ending at his altar in the cave under the Acropolis cliff. Pan is the Greek god of shepherds and flocks, who was especially popular in Arcadia. He is a son of the god Hermes. He was depicted as a satyr with a reed pipe, a shepherd's crook and a branch of pine or crown of pine needles. He had a wrinkled face with a very prominent chin. On his forehead were two horns and his body was hairy. He was a swift runner and climbed rocks with ease. Pan belonged to the retinue of Dionysus.

Pan was also a god of fertility, unbridled male sexuality and carnal desire. He chased nymphs through the forests and mountains in the shape of a goat. Pan was not very liked by the other Greek gods. He is closely associated with the Celtic God Kernunnos who's day was yesterday.