Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ante Diem III Idus Februarias

Modern Date : February 11th

Ante Diem III Idus Februarias
Third Day to the Ides of February

This is one of the dies nefasti a day on which no legal action or public voting could take place. The dies nefasti of February were days of religious ceremony honoring the dead and heralding the rebirth of the Spring and its associated fertility.

Britannicus, Claudius' son, was poisoned by Nero this day in 55 AD.

Tiberius married Julia, daughter of Augustus, in 11 BCE, giving him a claim to be the next emperor.

In the year 435, a treaty was signed by Rome by which the Vandals were allowed to retain a part of the African diocese.

February was 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.

Festival of Osirus
One of the great Osiris festival cycles in the ancient Egyptian calendar, celebrated especially at the main center of Osiris worship in Abydos and at Busiris, the ancient holy city of the Nile delta. The principal ceremony performed on the last of these three days was a dawn ritual of opening the doors of the horizon, and thereby reaffirming the precision of the divine order operating between Sun and Earth. (Month of Pamenot, days 28 - 30). The Pharaonic melody for this feast, as preserved in music of the Coptic church, has been found by Dr. Maged Samuel in Cairo.

The Goddess at Lourdes
The famous apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes, an ancient shrine to the goddess, occurred today. This was the last manifestation of the goddess at this site.

St Gobnait
An Irish saint whose name is cognate with "smith," perhaps another aspect or companion of Brigid. The occupation of blacksmith has always been a magical one, perhaps because of the smith's powers over metal and fire.

St Vlasios
The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates St Blaise's day on this day. If you are Greek and have to work on this day, you should first sew a cloth bag behind your back and get someone to ask you what you are sewing. The proper reply is: "I am sewing stone and whetstone. I am sewing up the wolf's jaw." The mention of the whetstone associates Vlasios with Brigid, and her patronage of metalcraft and the wolf of Lupercalia, Feb 15th.

The Slavonic god of farm animals is called Vlas or Volos and is definitely lurking behind the guise of St Vlasios. In Slavic areas, it is traditional to eat goat or mutton (from animals slaughtered in front of the church) and wheat cooked in butter and honey. In Aetolia, women are not supposed to carry firewood and Vlasios Cattlestrangler will drown any beasts of burden that are carrying loads on this day.

The day the birds begin to sing
In tenth and eleventh century England, people celebrated the festival of St Radegund on this day, which was also considered the day the birds first began to sing.