Friday, October 07, 2005

Ante Diem VIII Idus October

Modern Date : October 8th

Ante Diem VIII Idus October
Eighth Day to the Ides of October

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

On this day, the eighth day of the Greek month Pyanepsion, the Athenians celebrated the return of King Theseus after his defeat of King Minos of Crete, who up until then had enjoyed naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. Upon reaching shore, the hungry Athenians immediately boiled beans and ate all their remaining rations, it having apparently been a long voyage back. The Athenians did likewise on this day, singing a thanksgiving for the end of hunger. An olive branch, wreathed in white wool and hung with fruits, is carried in procession by two young men representing the disguised hostages. Being harvest time, this festival merged with the Festival of Grape Boughs, and thanks are given both to Dionysius, the god of wine, and to Athene, who guided Theseus to victory over Crete. Fourteen mothers join the procession, representing the fourteen hostages who were rescued when Theseus slew the king, the so-called "Bull of Minos."

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).

Mercury enters Scorpio
Mercury enters Scorpio, not exactly an unfavorable placement, but not so easy either, as Mercury's communicativeness can't operate at its freest comfort amid the secrecy of the Scorpion. Until 10/30.

Festival of High Places
Chung Yeung, the Festival of High Places, is a Chinese holiday honoring the legendary scholar, Huan Ching. Living in the village of Joo-an more than 2000 years ago, he was warned by a sage to take his family into the high hills to save them from a disaster that awaited everyone in the village below. After warning everyone, he took his family away and later returned to find every living thing in the village dead. The day is celebrated by hiking and kite flying which is thought to carry away impending evils. Kites often are flown in the form of bats, fish, and butterflies, creatures of good omen.

Also known as Autumn Remembrance, this festival is similar to Ching Ming in the spring, in that families journey to the graves of their ancestors to perform cleansing rites and pay their respects. They share the food they bring along, especially Chinese cakes, ko, which is a homonym of the word for "top". Some believe that those who eat these cakes will be promoted to the top.

San Ernesto Guevara
The Bolivian peasants of La Higuera, uninterested in the political messages preached by the revolutionary Ernesto (better known as Che) Guevara, turned him over to the Bolivian army in 1966. But nowadays they honor him on this day as San Ernesto and, generously, he never fails to answer their prayers for rain.

Nonas October

Modern Date : October 7th

Nonas October
The Nones of October

This is one of the dies fasti on which legal actions are permitted. The rex sacrorum would appear on the steps of the Capitol on this day and announce to the people what days of the months would be holidays.

The Nones of October are sacred to Jupiter and to Juno. Sacrifices were offered on the Field of Mars and feasts were held out in the open to which the public, including the poor and the homeless, were invited.

In Greece this day was celebrated as Pallas Athena's Day. Athena (Minerva) was the goddess of Wisdom and was also known as the Maid. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. She was endowed with the power of prophecy which she could bestow on mortals. She was the patroness of art, science, and learning. Athena also governed the feminine industry of spinning and weaving. It was for Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, that the Greeks built the Parthenon and in which was housed one of Phidias' greatest works of art, a gold covered statue of the goddess. The Christians, under the emperor Theodosius II, removed the statue to Byzantium, where it was stripped of its gold and destroyed without a trace.

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).

Venus enters Sagittarius
On this day Venus is happy to escape from Scorpio, where she is "in detriment," her powers frayed and weakened even to exhaustion, and enters Sagittarius, where she feels more regally at ease and at home. She is mightiest on Friday 10/28, when she conjoins Pluto on the weekday sacred to her, and remains in Sagittarius until 11/5.

Jupiter Thunderbolt
In Rome, this was the dedication day for an open shrine to Jupiter Fulgur (Jupiter Thunderbolt) who was responsible for lightning that appeared in the day. Any place struck by lightning was sacred to Jupiter Fulgur.

Feast of Ma'at
In the ancient Egyptian Calendar, Feast of Ma'at, goddess of Truth (Hethara day 21). Ma'at was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title "Beloved of Ma'at," emphasizing their focus on justice and truth.

At any event in which something would be judged, Ma'at was said to be present, and her name would be invoked so that the judge involved would rule correctly and impartially. In the underworld, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis against Ma'at's feather. If the heart was heavy with wicked deeds, it would outweigh the feather, and the soul would be fed to Ammit. But if the scales were balanced, indicating that the deceased was a just and honorable person in life, he would be welcomed by Osiris into the Blessed Land. Ma'at's presence in all worlds was universal, and all the gods deferred to her.

The Most Holy Rosary of Mary
Dominic came up with the idea of the rosary during his 13th century campaign against the Albigenisians. Despite this unsavory beginning (the Dominicans went on to become Grand Inquisitors), the rosary is simply the Catholic version of an ancient spiritual practice. Certain prayers are recited as the worshipper's fingers move along beads of different sizes and shapes strung in a circle. Other spiritual traditions use prayer beads or prayer wheels. The repetition of the physical action and words creates a trance-like effect.

Originally it was the Lord's Prayer ("Our Father…") that was recited, hence the name "paternosters" for chains of beads. Hail Marys were added in the twelfth century when Mary worship was at its height.

The Zinacantecos of Mexico have chosen this day to honor the sacred salt well in the village of Zinacantan. The image of the Virgen del Rosario is brought from the village of Salinas. Two special censers filled with copal incense are lowered into the salt well which is then covered with reed mats. The Mayordomos and their wives are then required to spend three days and nights dancing without stopping except to eat and drink rum to pay homage to the Virgin and the well.

Nottingham Goose Fair
This ancient English fair has been held since 1284. Once it began on St Matthews Day (Sep 21) and lasted for eight days (until Michaelmas). Now it takes place on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday in October.

In earlier times, gooseherds drove geese to the fair where they were sold to be eaten at Michaelmas and Christmas. The geese were "shoed" by dipping their feet in tar, and then sand for the long journey.

Now the fair includes a cattle market plus all the usual activities: playing games, shopping, and eating. Brandy snaps (brandy cookies curled into a cone like a cornucopia and filled with cream) and nougats are favorite "fairings."

Other Goose Fairs and Mop Fairs (because servants are being hired) take place in other towns throughout the early weeks of October. In some places, Runaway Fairs were held the following week for those servants who disliked their new situations.

Sts Sergius and Bacchus
Reading between the lines, these spurious martyrs might be patron saints for gay men and transvestites. Roman army officers, they were also close friends "on the classical Greek model" and apparently closet Christians as well. When they refused to enter the temple of Jupiter, the emperor Maximian had them stripped of their uniforms and forced to walk the streets in women's clothes.

This Greek festival for Demeter was held at Eleusis on the 5th day of the Greek month of Pyanepsion. The name means "Preliminary to the Ploughing," and it was probably a grain sowing rite. Offerings of first fruits (mostly grain) are given to Demeter to ask for her blessing at the beginning of the sowing season. Apollon's oracle told the Athenians to begin the Proerosia in order to end a horrible famine, and this story is recounted at the festival.