Saturday, October 01, 2005

Kalendas October

Modern Date : October 1st

Kalendas October
The Kalends of October

This is one of the dies nefasti a day on which no legal action or public voting could take place.

The Festival of Fides
This day was sacred to Fides and to Mars. Ceremonial rites were performed this day involving purification and a commemoration of the oath of unification at the Capitoline shrine of Fides. Fides was the Roman goddess of faithfulness. Fides Pulbica, or “Honor of the People,” had a temple on the Capitol, founded by King Numa, to which the clerics of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus rode in a covered chariot on this day. By covering the chariot, the meaning was that honor could not be too carefully protected. At the offering, they had their right hands wrapped up to the fingers with white bands. The meaning of this was that the right hand, the seat of honor, should be kept pure and holy. The goddess was represented with outstretched right hand and a white veil. Her symbols were ears of corn and fruits, joined hands, and a turtle-dove.

This day was also known as the Tigillum Sororium, a day which commemorates the event when a dispute between the Romans and the Albans was settled by single combat between three Roman brothers Horatii and the three Alban brothers Curiatti. Horatius the Roman returned home as the lone victor to discover his sister crying - she had been secretly betrothed to one of the Curatii. In a rage he slew her, but the people would not put him to death for this murder and he was expiated.

The emperor Alexander Severus was born this day in 208 AD.

This was the Seleucid New Year's day.

Martial says, "Come let duteous Rome recognize October's kalends, the birthday of eloquent Restitutius: with all your tongues, and in all your prayers, utter well-omed words; we keep a birthday, be still, ye lawsuits!"

The last and ninth day of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries was called Plemo Choai, “earthen vessels.” This day was devoted to plenty in its liquid form. Two unstable circular vases were set up for the ceremony. These Plemachoai were poured into a cleft in the earth, the chthonion chasma. One vessel was set up in the east, and the other in the west, and both were overturned.

The Initiates of the Mysteries were highly honored, and even revered, by their peers. They were looked upon as almost sacred, consecrated to Ceres and Proserpine. By their oaths, they were required to practice every virtue, religious, moral, political, public, and private. The Initiates were thought to receive special advice from the gods and to be almost as adopted children of the Eleusinian goddesses. These deities watched over them, averting impending danger and rescuing them when troubles threatened. The initiates were offered comfort in their sorrow and hope for a better afterlife. After death, they would automatically retire to the Elysian Fields.

October was the eighth month of the old Roman calendar and was sacred to the goddess Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis. The name October comes from Octo, meaning eight (March used to be the first month). The Romans tried to change it four times and named it after Germanicus, Antonius, Faustina and Herculeus. None of them stuck.

Deireadh Fóómhair or an Damhair, the stag rut, was the Irish name for this month or Gealach a 'bhruic, moon of the badger. Winterfelleth, "winter is coming," was the Anglo-Saxon name. The Franks called October Windurmanoth, "vintage month." Hunting is the Asatru name.

The first Full Moon is called the Hunter's Moon. This moon is also known as Shedding Moon, Ten Colds Moon, Ancestor Moon or the Moon of the Dead, and the Moon of the Changing Season. It shares the name Blood Moon with July and Harvest Moon with September.

The sun passes from Libra to Scorpio around October 23rd. Marigolds are for October children. Beryl, aquamarine, opal, or tourmaline are best for people born in October, and opal or tourmaline are also the birthstones of Libra, while topaz is the stone for Scorpio. Libra has connections to aquamarine, emerald, kunzite, moonstone, opal, peridot, and pink tourmaline, and other Scorpio stones include albite, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, green tourmaline, malachite, moonstone, obsidian, and ruby.

The name October comes from octo, meaning eight (March used to be the first month). The Romans tried to change it four times and named it after Germanicus, Antonius, Faustina and Herculeus. None of them stuck.

The Festival of Dionysus
In the ancient Greco-Roman calendar, Oct. 1 is the Dionysia, one of the two great annual festivals of Dionysus/Bacchus, god of ecstatic experiences, including wine. This date marks the time of the grape harvest and blessing of the new wine, and celebrates the phase of the god's youth, as Dionysus goes below the Earth to Elysium and becomes for the next six months Plouton/ Pluto, ruler of the underworld, who will be reborn as Dionysus in the spring.

Dionysus, also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus, appears to be a god who has two distinct origins. On the one hand, Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature, who is also the patron god of the Greek stage. On the other hand, Dionysus also represents the outstanding features of mystery religions, such as those practiced at Eleusis: ecstasy, personal delivery from the daily world through physical or spiritual intoxication, and initiation into secret rites. Scholars have long suspected that the god known as Dionysus is in fact a fusion of a local Greek nature god, and another more potent god imported rather late in Greek pre-history from Phrygia (the central area of modern day Turkey) or Thrace.

According to one myth, Dionysus is the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman, Semele (daughter of Cadmus of Thebes). Semele is killed by Zeus' lightning bolts while Dionysus is still in her womb. Dionysus is rescued and undergoes a second birth from Zeus after developing in his thigh. Zeus then gives the infant to some nymphs to be raised. In another version, one with more explicit religious overtones, Dionysus, also referred to as Zagreus in this account, is the son of Zeus and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Hera gets the Titans to lure the infant with toys, and then they rip him to shreds eating everything but Zagreus' heart, which is saved by either Athena, Rhea, or Demeter. Zeus remakes his son from the heart and implants him in Semele who bears a new Dionysus Zagreus. Hence, as in the earlier account, Dionysus is called "twice born." The latter account formed a part of the Orphic religion's religious mythology.

It does seem clear that Dionysus, at least the Phrygian Dionysus, was a late arrival in the Greek world and in Greek mythology. He is hardly mentioned at all in the Homeric epics, and when he is it is with some hostility. A number of his stories are tales of how Dionysus moved into a city, was resisted, and then destroyed those who opposed him. The most famous account of this is that of Euripides in his play the Bacchae. He wrote this play while in the court of King Archelaus of Macedon, and nowhere do we see Dionysus more destructive and his worship more dangerous than in this play. Scholars have speculated not unreasonably that in Macedon Euripides discovered a more extreme form of the religion of Dionysus being practiced than the more civil, quiet forms in Athens.

Briefly, Dionysus returns to Thebes, his putative birthplace, where his cousin Pentheus is king. He has returned to punish the women of Thebes for denying that he was a god and born of a god. Pentheus is enraged at the worship of Dionysus and forbids it, but he cannot stop the women, including his mother Agave, or even the elder statesmen of the kingdom from swarming to the wilds to join the Maenads (a term given to women under the ecstatic spell of Dionysus) in worship. Dionysus lures Pentheus to the wilds where he is killed by the Maenads and then mutilated by Agave.

St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus
This young French woman who became a Carmelite nun and died at the young age of 24, was an inspiration for many with the story of her devotion to Jesus, including Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She is the patron of missionaries (because of her unfulfilled desire to be one), of florists and flower-growers (because of her promise to "let fall a shower of roses" to those who sought her intercession) and of France.