Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ante Diem III Nonas December

Modern Date : December 3rd

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

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

Festival of Bona Dea
Bona Dea, is the Roman feast of the "good goddess" whose Greek name translates as "feminine divinity." Bachofen associates her with Themis, the goddess of fate and she is also called Fatua (fate). Another name for her is Fauna (the consort of Faunus). In this aspect she governed both fertility and healing. She is depicted as an elderly woman with pointed ears holding a serpent. Her festival was for women only. Men were excluded from the ritual which involved libations of wine (which was referred to as milk and served from a vessel called a "honey-pot"). (Unfortunately, as with many women-only festivals, our information about what happened is sketchy.) Her other major feast day is May 1.

Her name, may be euphemistic, a way of appeasing her, just as the Fairies were referred to as The Kindly Ones. In his book Ecstasies, in which he explores the imagery of the witches' sabbath, Carlo Ginzburg describes evidence for an early shamanic cult centered around a goddess of abundance and the dead. She was known as Herodiade, Diana, Habondia (Abundance), Richessa and simply the Good Goddess. Her followers claimed they flew with her through the night skies, entering the houses of the rich to feast; Ginzburg suggests these journeys were undertaken in trance.

Helen Farias(Magical Ladies of the Thirteen Nights) described the Roman Kalends (first of the month/year) practice of laying tables with abundant food for some supernatural being as a kind of charm to ensure plenty for the coming year. It was mentioned in the fifth century and also in the eleventh, when a German ecclesiastical writer condemned the custom of putting out food, drink and three knives for "those three Sisters whom the ancients in their folly called Parcae," The Parcae were the Roman Fates (originally goddesses of abundance and motherhood--Parcae derives from a word meaning to produce). They were identified with the Three Weird Sisters of England (wyrd is the Anglo-Saxon for destiny) who were stronger than Woden (even Zeus couldn't countermand the Greek Moirae or Fates). In certain medieval French material, according to Lucy Paton, Morgan le Fee and her attendants are met with Tables of Fortune and treated like visiting Fates.

… far off ... the laughter of cloistered maids ... the secret place of the goddess of women ... the sweet fire of incense.
Plutarch, on the Roman festival of Bona Dea

The emperor Diocletian died this day at Split in 311 AD.

Decima, the middle Fate in charge of the present, presides over December, but the month may have received its name as the tenth month of the Roman calendar. Vesta, patroness of fire also laid claim to the month of December.

Day of Remembrance for Bogatir Svatogor Studen
The date refers back to the time of the Great Barrow Gulbishe and the first fight with Pechenegs. Awesome were the honors at the funeral for this great noble warrior. His implements and armor were gigantic, twice as large as the ordinary in size. Today, say a toast to this great warrior.

Day of Cybele, or Rhea, ancient Greece and Phrygia, the Great Mother Goddess. This celebration became Bona Dea in Rome.