Sunday, October 02, 2005

Ante Diem VI Nonas October

Modern Date : October 2nd

Ante Diem VI Nonas October
Sixth Day to the Nones of October

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

The battle of Actium was fought on this day in 31 BCE. The armies of Antony and Cleopatra fought a sea battle against the army of Octavian, the later Augustus Caesar. Although outnumbered, Octavian's ships devastated the Egyptian fleet. Cleopatra fled in fear during the battle, causing Antony to lose heart and flee after her. Within a few days they would both commit suicide.

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 being the first month).

Today is the birthday of Mohandas Kharamchand Gandhi (1869).

"A non-violent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships, ending in a peaceful transfer of power."
-from Gandhi's Non-Violence in Peace and War (1948)

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in 1869 to Hindu parents in the state of Gujarat in Western India. He entered an arranged marriage with Kasturbai Makanji when both were 13 years old. His family later sent him to London to study law, and in 1891 he was admitted to the Inner Temple, and called to the bar. In Southern Africa he worked ceaselessly to improve the rights of the immigrant Indians. It was there that he developed his creed of passive resistance against injustice, satyagraha, meaning truth force, and was frequently jailed as a result of the protests that he led. Before he returned to India with his wife and children in 1915, he had radically changed the lives of Indians living in Southern Africa.

Back in India, it was not long before he was taking the lead in the long struggle for independence from Britain. He never wavered in his unshakable belief in nonviolent protest and religious tolerance. When Muslim and Hindu compatriots committed acts of violence, whether against the British who ruled India, or against each other, he fasted until the fighting ceased. Independence, when it came in 1947, was not a military victory, but a triumph of human will. To Gandhi's despair, however, the country was partitioned into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. The last two months of his life were spent trying to end the appalling violence which ensued, leading him to fast to the brink of death, an act which finally quelled the riots. In January 1948, at the age of 79, he was killed by an assassin as he walked through a crowed garden in New Delhi to take evening prayers.

In reply to a reporter's question "What do you think of Western Civilization?" Gandhi replied, "I think it would be a good idea!"

Guardian Angels
A church feast since 1670 when the guardian angels were given their own feast (they used to share Sep 29 with St Michael). The concept of a personal guardian is much older. In Rome every man had his genius, every woman her Iuno. In the New Age we have spirit guides and totem animals. A day to honor your own personal god, demi-god, goddess or angel.

The Primordials
In the Ancient Egyptian calendar this was the day the eight Great Netjers (Gods or Primordials) appeared in Abydos. They came down from the stars to live on the earth. Some theorize this is an ancient reference to a colonization of earth by human like "gods". The Dogon people of Africa belive in this view of man's origins and in many cultures there are references to the time of Giants or Titans.

Mikkelin Paiva (Michael's Day)
The festival honoring St. Michael is held on the first Sunday in October in Finland (rather than on September 29 as in England). Prayers are said in churches for the safe gathering of the harvest. Often the harvesters spend the previous night dancing by candlelight to celebrate the end of the harvest.

This church-sanctioned festival replaces an older pagan celebration called Kekri which was held at the end of the harvest, when the crops were gathered. Each farmer would set up a feast for the spirits of the dead, to thank them for their efforts in growing the crops and to ask for protection for the horses and cattle.

Fiesta de Aqua
In Peru, the first Sunday of October is the day when the gates of the river Carhuayumac are opened. In the weeks before the festival, the irrigation ditches are cleaned out and restored. On the day of the festival, a procession of horsemen approaches the Cave near the river gate where the Water God, Pariapunko resides. The Mayor enteres the cave and leaves offerings for the God. Then the river gate is opened and a rocket is set up as the water is released. The horsemen ride parallel to the water as it gushes into the newly cleansed ditches, helping to lift it up and singing walinas.