Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ante Diem XVII Kalendas October

Modern Date : September 15th

Ante Diem XVII Kalendas October
The Ludi Romani

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

The Vota
On this day the vota, or solemn promises, would be made to Jupiter in exchange for favors granted. In the Roman view, the deities wished no evil upon mankind, but had created the earth and all its wonders for mankind to enjoy. Unlike modern egotistical deities, the ancient gods craved no obsequious fawning from humans. The Romans prayed standing up like men, with arms outstretched and in bold voice. They believed the gods granted favors to those of honor and virtue who deservedly asked for them. The underworld deities were a different matter however, and were fond of causing mischief, but could be placated with appropriate sacrifices.

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).

Just prior to the Eleusinian Mysteries, ancient Athens holds the festival of Demokratia, celebrating the blessings of democratic government, constitutional law and freedom of speech. During the rites, images of Zeus Agoraios and Athene Agoraias (literally "Zeus and Athene of the low place") are paraded and decorated in the agora, the lower city area below the Acropolis, or "high place". For the Athenians, and other Greeks as well, this emphasis on broad-based democratic worship of gods who treated the great and the humble with equal kindness and severity was profoundly different from the hierarchic religious practices of Asia and Africa, where gods spoke only to kings and high priests. The Demokratia also honors Themis ("Order"), mother (by Hermes) of King Evander, to whom she taught prophecy and letters.

Sorrows of Mary/Addolorata
Mary had seven great sorrows in her life: the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, when the child Jesus was lost for 3 days, meeting her son on his way to his crucifixion, standing at the foot of the cross, taking down his body, and burying him.

In southern Italy, around the third Sunday in September is the festival of the Addolorata. Mary is called La Pecorella, the little lamb, a name connected with an old pagan sacrifice. This day is also connected with the wheat harvest and the ritual meal is cuccia salata, wheat berries cooked in meat broth and layered with goat or pork. At the end of the day, a lamb is raffled off which is boiled with onions and bay leaves, then shared with friends.

Birth of the Chinese Moon
According to the Chinese, this is the day the Moon was created. In the beginning , the heavens and earth were still one and all was chaos. The universe was like a big black egg, carrying Pan Gu inside itself. After 18 thousand years Pan Gu woke from a long sleep. He felt suffocated, so he took up a broadax and wielded it with all his might to crack open the egg. The light, clear part of it floated up and formed the heavens, the cold, turbid matter stayed below to form earth. Pan Gu stood in the middle, his head touching the sky, his feet planted on the earth. The heavens and the earth began to grow at a rate of ten feet per day, and Pan Gu grew along with them. After another 18 thousand years, the sky was higher, the earth thicker, and Pan Gu stood between them like a pillar 9 million li in height so that they would never join again.

When Pan Gu died, his breath became the wind and clouds, his voice the rolling thunder. One eye became the sun and one the moon. His body and limbs turned to five big mountains and his blood formed the roaring water. His veins became far-stretching roads and his muscles fertile land. The innumerable stars in the sky came from his hair and beard, and flowers and trees from his skin and the fine hairs on his body. His marrow turned to jade and pearls. His sweat flowed like the good rain and sweet dew that nurtured all things on earth. According to some versions of the Pan Gu legend, his tears flowed to make rivers and radiance of his eyes turned into thunder and lighting. When he was happy the sun shone, but when he was angry black clouds gathered in the sky. One version of the legend has it that the fleas and lice on his body became the ancestors of mankind.

The Pan Gu story has become firmly fixed in Chinese tradition. There is even an idiom relating to it: "Since Pan Gu created earth and the heavens," meaning "for a very long time." Nevertheless, it is rather a latecomer to the catalog of Chinese legends. First mention of it is in a book on Chinese myths written by Xu Zheng in the Three Kingdoms period (CE 220-265). Some opinions hold that it originated in south China or southeast Asia.

Henry Cornelius Agrippa
Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was born on September 15, 1486 in Cologne. He died in Grenoble or Lyons in 1534 or 1535. Agrippa was a German soldier and physician, and an adept in alchemy, astrology and magic. Agrippa never had the benefit of long term patronage so he was never able to stay long in one place and pursued many different professions serving as a soldier, physician, ambassador, and university lecturer. He was made a knight by the Emperor Maximilian.

In 1509 Agrippa wrote "De Nobilitate Et Praecelentia Foemini Sexus, (The Nobility of the Female Sex and the Superiority of Women Over Men), which was not published until 1532. In 1509 Agrippa also began writing his magnum opus, Three Books of Occult Philosophy which was finally published in 1531.

In 1530 Agrippa published De Incertitudine & Vanitate Scientiarum & Artium, (The Vanity and Uncertainty of the Arts and Sciences). He also wrote a commentary on the Ars Brevis of Raymond Lull, as well as treatises on, marriage, the plague and geomancy. As is clear from the long delay between the writing and publishing of many of his works throughout his life Agrippa was dogged by ill luck and opposition to his ideas and works.

Agrippa's thought unites the streams of classical Neoplatonic
and Hermetic philosophy, Jewish Kabbalah and Christianity. Three Books of Occult Philosophy, his most famous work, is a systematic exposition of the occult, in the sense of hidden, knowledge extant in Renaissance Europe. It is an encyclopedic work of Renaissance magic providing information on such diverse topics as planetary rulerships, occult virtues, sympathies and enmities of natural things, enchantments, sorceries, types of divination, the scales of numbers and their significance, astrological talismans, the divine Trinity, the Kabbalistic Names of God and the orders of evil spirits.

"Seeing there is a Threefold world, Elementary, Celestial and Intellectual, and every Inferior is governed by its Superior... the very Original and Chief Worker of All doth... convey the Virtues of his Omnipotency upon Us."

Agrippa influenced occultists for generations. His thinking was different and advanced for his times which frequently brought him into conflict with his contemporaries and church officials. Sounds like my kind of guy.