Sunday, February 12, 2006

Idus Februarias

Modern Date : February 13th

Idus Februarias
The Ides of February

This day is for special religious observance.

The Parentalia
An eight-day Roman festival, honoring dead ancestors. All temples were closed, no marriages took place and government officials did not wear their robes in public. People visited the graves of their parents and other relatives, bringing offerings of milk, wine, honey, oil and spring water. Some brought sacrificial blood from bodies of black animals. They decorated the graves with roses and violets and ate a ritual meal at the gravesite. As both greeting and farewell, they spoke the words, Salve, sancte parens, "Hail, holy ancestor."

The Vestal Virgins performed their own rites on this day, honoring their sacred ancestor with a visit to the group's parental shrine, that of the early Vestal, Terpeia

On this day the Fabii clan, fighting alone against the Veii for Rome, were ambushed and destroyed but for one boy.

Columella says the rising of Arcturus occurs on this day.

Cotton Mather, the minister presiding at the Salem Witch Trials, died this day in 1728.

February is a month sacred to the gods Mars (as Quirinus, or Romulus) and Juno, the wife of Jupiter. It is also a month in which particular reverence was shown to the spirits of deceased ancestors. This was a month devoted to fertility, both of men and women, and of the land, and celebration of the coming Spring.

Celtic Festival of Love
Gwyl o Danu a Cernunnos, the festival of Festival of Love, honors Danu and Cernunnos. It begins at sundown and continues thru February 21st. The Goddess Danu was the mother Goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She is particularly associated with the province of Munster with its fertile soil and was known as Anu in those parts. The Tuatha Dé Danann were all descended from her.

Some scholars believe that Anu was the primary Earth Goddess and Danu was only the name given to her by the nineteenth century writers. However the nineteenth century writers were so popular that now most people would know of the Tuatha De Danann and the Goddess Danu.

There is a school of thought that believes that her name is Danand and she slept with Delbhaeth (Turenn) her own father to produce Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba. This is just an example of the confusions existing within Irish Mythology.

Cernunnos, "The Horned One" is a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. He was worshipped all over Gaul, and his cult spread into Britain as well. Cernunnos is depicted with the antlers of a stag, sometimes carries a purse filled with coin. The Horned God is born at the winter solstice, marries the goddess at Beltane, and dies at the summer solstice. He alternates with the goddess of the moon in ruling over life and death, continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation.

Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that Cernunnos' origins date to those times. Romans sometimes portrayed him with three cranes flying above his head. Known to the Druids as Hu Gadarn. God of the underworld and astral planes. The consort of the great goddess. He was often depicted holding a bag of money, or accompanied by a ram-headed serpent and a stag. Most notably is the famous Gundestrup cauldron discovered in Denmark.

Navajo Sing Festival
One of the year's great Navajo Sing Festivals, beginning at the Full Moon in February, this one held to purify the fields and the people before the next planting season. In prayers, song and dance, and healing ceremonies, the Navajo honor Naste Estsan, the Spider Woman who spun the world and supported the warrior twins Tobadzistsini and Naymezyani in their struggle against the forces of evil. In her dual roles as Spider Woman and the shape shifter Estsanatlehi, the "Changing Woman" Creator Goddess, Naste Estsan carries and endlessly becomes the unlimited transforming power of nature.


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