Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pridie Nonas October

Modern Date : October 6th

Pridie Nonas October
Day before the Nones of October

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

The Battle of Cibalae was fought this day in 316 AD. Constantine, who had shrewdly recognized the predominance of Christianity in his army while noting that Licinius was backed by the old order of pagan nobles. Capitalizing on these differences, he had the army display the Christian cross on flags, which must have pleased and united the soldiers, while undermining the morale of Licinius' soldiers, many of whom were also Christians. Constantine defeated Licinius, sentenced him to exile, and later had him murdered. Although Christians claim Constantine was converted to the new religion by a vision on the way to battle, this was merely a later Christian fabrication. There was no contemporary corroboration of any such event, and in fact, Constantine never became a practicing Christian and never got baptized until the day he died.

On this day in 610 AD Pharos is defeated and executed, and Heraclius became emperor.

According to some accounts, the Jews reckoned this was the day the universe was created in the year 3761 BC.

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).

Vishnu Festival of Haribodhini Ekadasi
Hindu worshipers of Vishnu celebrate a ten day festival honoring their god. Haribodhini Ekadasi is the day when Lord Vishnu, revered by Hindus as the supreme god, awakens from his annual four-month rest, which he spends reclining on the coiled body of an enormous serpent. Celebrations leading up to the festival begin 10 days before the big event. The faithful bathe in sacred waters, chant his name 1008 times, and make secret offerings of alms by hiding them in unripe pumpkins. The faithful also visit Changu Narayan, one of the four major Bishnu temples in Kathmandu, to honor him with a vigil. On the day of Ekadasi, devotees throng Bishnu temples, particularly Budhanilkantha in Kathmandu, where a fair takes place that continues till the full moon day (November 8). People who fail to honor the god Vishnu at this time risk being reborn as roosters or human mutes.

St Faith
Worshipped throughout England and France in the Middle Ages, but little is known about her. Kightly(The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore) says she was executed by being grilled over a fire, therefore cakes are made in her honor. In northern England, young girls used these cakes to divine their future husbands. On the eve of her feast, three girls should make a cake of flour, salt, sugar and spring water and turn it nine times as it bakes, each girl turning it three times. Then it is cut into three and each girl's share is divided again into nine slivers and each sliver is passed thrice through the wedding ring of a woman married seven years at least. The slivers are then eaten while repeating this prayer:

O good St Faith, be kind tonight
And bring to me my heart's delight
Let me my future husband view
And be my vision chaste and true.
Halliwell, 216 (1849)

Then the ring is hung from the bed-head on a cord and the girls go straight to bed to await their oracular dreams.

Her unreliable legend tells that she was hauled before Dacian, procurator at Agen, France, for her Christianity during Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. She was then tortured to death for her Christianity on a red-hot brazier. Also executed with her was St. Alberta (March 11th); when some of the spectators objected, Dacian had them beheaded.

Ante Diem III Nonas October

Modern Date : October 5th

Ante Diem III Nonas October
Third Day to the Nones of October

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

On this day the rite of mundus (mania) was performed, in which an effigy representing the sky was placed upside down in a pit and and covered with a large stone called the lapis manalis. Three times a year, including today, the stone was removed to alow the spirits of the underworld access to the upper regions of the earth.

On this day in 170 BCE, Philometer was expelled as ruler of Egypt and succeeded by the joint rule of Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VIII, and Cleopatra II.

The Emperor Constantius Augustus died this day in 361 AD. He died from a fever at the age of 44 after having reigned 38 years. He left Julian as heir.

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).

This day honors Bodhidharma, better known to the Japanese as Daruma, the beloved Zen philosopher who taught that Buddhahood is innate in every human being, and can be activated with spiritual practice. Bodhidharma was born in Kanchi in the Southern Indian kingdom of Pallava around year 440 CE. At the instruction of Prajnatara he travelled to China by ship and arrived around 475 CE. He is associated with the Shaolin temple, and is honored as the founder of Kung Fu. He is also credited with bringing tea to China from India. He is said to have cut off his eyelids to stay awake in meditiation, and so is usually depicted with bulging eyes. He is also credited with bringing Zen to China, even though he had few disciples in his lifetime.

Quan Yin
Also on this day, Mahayana Buddhists celebrate the beloved energy of compassion known as Kwan Yin, Kannon, Kwan Sen and Tara, and commemorate the moment at which she became a bodhisattva. Quan Yin is one of the most universally beloved of deities in the Buddhist tradition. Also known as Kuan Yin, Quan'Am (Vietnam), Kannon (Japan), and Kanin (Bali), She is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, She hears the cries of all beings. Quan Yin enjoys a strong resonance with the Christian Mary, and the Tibetan goddess Tara.

In many images She is depicted carrying the pearls of illumination. Often Quan Yin is shown pouring a stream of healing water, the "Water of Life," from a small vase. (The Temperance Card of the Tarot is a good representation of her.) With this water devotees and all living things are blessed with physical and spiritual peace. She holds a sheaf of ripe rice or a bowl of rice seed as a metaphor for fertility and sustenance. The dragon, an ancient symbol for high spirituality, wisdom, strength, and divine powers of transformation, is a common motif found in combination with the Goddess of Mercy.

Sometimes Kuan Yin is represented as a many armed figure, with each hand either containing a different cosmic symbol or expressing a specific ritual position, or mudra. This characterizes the Goddess as the source and sustenance of all things. Her cupped hands often form the Yoni Mudra, symbolizing the womb as the door for entry to this world through the universal female principle.

Quan Yin, as a true Enlightened One, or Bodhisattva, vowed to remain in the earthly realms and not enter the heavenly worlds until all other living things have completed their own enlightenment and thus become liberated from the pain-filled cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

There are numerous legends that recount the miracles which Quan Yin performs to help those who call on Her. Like Artemis, She is a virgin Goddess who protects women, offers them a religious life as an alternative to marriage, and grants children to those who desire them.

Nubaigai Festival
The Nubaigai(Old Woman, Crone) festival of Lithuania is celebrated by reaping the last sheaf of grain from the fields. On some farms, the last sheaf, called the Old Woman, is dressed and danced with. Food, drink, dancing, and games are also part of the festival.

The harvest wreath is carried on a plate covered with a white linen cloth, and as the procession moves on, those who reaped sing an old song about how they rescued the crop from a huge bison that tried to devour it.