The Wicca Book of Days for July 7
The Fig Feast
A festival called the Caprotinia, or the Nonae Caprotinae (“The Nones of the Wild Fig”) took place in ancient Rome on July 7. Celebrated by serving women, it is thought that this feast day fused an older fig-tree festival with the commemoration of a historical event, when female servants, under the leadership of a caprificus-climbing girl called Philotis played a crucial part in defeating a Latin tribe. During the Caprotinia, the ancillae staged play fights, feasted under fig trees, and offered the fruits to the matriarchal goddess Juno Caprotina.
Go out at dusk to inhale the divine scent of a flowering honeysuckle. Associated with both the Moon and this day’s zodiacal sign of Cancer in astrological belief, honeysuckle has long symbolized the sweet, clinging nature of a young woman’s love.
Thargelia Day I: Pharmakos
Altar: Upon a black cloth set incense, a lantern with a flame, and two necklaces of figs strung together, one of dark figs and one of light ones.
Offerings: Purify some evil thing from your life.
Daily Meal: Fasting
Long ago on this day
The people chose two from the crowd,
One man and one woman
Who had incurred their wrath,
Or were sinners, or merely ugly,
And they paid them gold in the name of Apollo
Bright God of the Sun
Whose day this is,
Apollo whose other face
Is the ravening wolf Lycaon.
They fed them, marched them around
The boundaries of the city,
And then drove them out
Pelted with figs and squills,
With all the sins of the city on their backs.
Yet sins are not so easily driven out.
To lay them on a human back
Is too easy, and we do not walk the easy path.
So on this day we cast out the sins
Of the house, the family, the community,
Yet we each take responsibility for those sins,
And we admit that we are each the Pharmakoi,
And that none of us can lay that on another.
We cast you from our home
(All lay hands upon the fig wreaths and speak what sins they would cast out and be rid of. They are then carried outside to be thrown on a fire and burned, and the ashes turned into the compost heap or scattered about the garden.)
[Pagan Book of Hours]