Deity of the Day for Feb. 14th – Venus

Venus

Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and military victory. She played a key role in many Roman religious festivals. From the third century BC, the increasing Hellenization of Roman upper classes identified her as the equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Roman mythology made her the divine mother of Aeneas, the Trojan ancestor of Rome’s founder, Romulus.

In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon, Vulcan and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection. She is essentially assimilative and benign, and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions, She can give military victory, sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes; in another, she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue.

The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentine’s Day

The origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women’s names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year’s celebration.

While this pairing of couples set the tone for today’s holiday, it wasn’t called “Valentine’s Day” until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II’s decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.

After Valentine’s death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine’s Day to honor Saint Valentine.

What’s Cupid Got to Do with It?

According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Cupid was known to cause people to fall in love by shooting them with his magical arrows. But Cupid didn’t just cause others to fall in love – he himself fell deeply in love.

As legend has it, Cupid fell in love with a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married Psyche, but Venus, jealous of Psyche’s beauty, forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. Psyche, of course, couldn’t resist temptation and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband. As punishment, Venus demanded that she perform three hard tasks, the last of which caused Psyche’s death.

Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods, moved by their love, granted Pysche immortality. Cupid thus represents the heart and Psyche the (struggles of the) human soul.

Fun Facts

  • Approximately 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. Half of those are sent through Care2 (OK, maybe not HALF… or even half of half… but we are growing fast!)
  • In order of popularity, Valentine’s Day cards are given to: teachers, children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, Koko the gorilla.
  • The expression “wearing your heart on your sleeve” comes from a Valentine’s Day party tradition. Young women would write their names on slips of paper to be drawn by young men. A man would then wear a woman’s name on his sleeve to claim her as his valentine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

care2.com

Earth Goddesses – FLORA

Earth Goddesses – FLORA

Flora (“flourishing one”) in the Roman and Greek goddess of flowers, youth, fertility, and springtime. She is also identified with the Greek Goddess Chloris. It was said in the Greek myths that when Chloris (originally a nymph) was captured by Zephyrus, he gifted her with the realm of flowers in return for marrying him. So Chloris became known as the Roman Flora.

Flora was thought to give the charm to youth and the sweetness to honey and to protect the petals and give the fragrance to blossoms. She was particularly important in Roman society. Her cults are among the oldest found in Rome, and she was one of the few deities that had her own priests, who were known as the Flamen Floralis. Her bounty was the precursor of modern medicine, as Flora was not only responsible for flowers but was originally responsible for all crops. All gardens fell under her protection, and iron was strictly prohibited within them to allow the plant devas and nature spirits to prosper peacefully. Fairy folk are known for their aversion to iron.

Flora had a special garden of her own, which featured all of the mythological creatures that turned into flowers upon their deaths. Among the blossoms were Narcissus; Ajax, who became a larkspur; Clytie, who became a sunflower; Hyacinth, who had been Apollo’s lover; and Adonis, who became the anemone.

Greek myths also relate a tale where Flora was responsible for the rose. While on an early morning walk through the woods, she stumbled upon the dead body of a beautiful young girl. Saddened to see such a lovely creature dead, she decided to restore her life by transforming her into the most delicate and beautiful of all flowers. In order to accomplish this, she called upon her husband, Zephyrus, god of the western wind, to blow away all of the clouds from the sky. She then called upon Apollo to send his warm rays of sunlight down as blessings. She called upon Aphrodite to add beauty and grace and Dionysus for nectar and fragrance. Everyone agreed that this was the most beautiful of all the flowers.

Flora went to work gathering dewdrops to restore life to the flower and crowned her queen of all flowers. She then called upon Aurora and Iris in spread the word about this new flower. Iris borrowed just a touch of the flower’s color to spread among her rainbows, and Aurora painted the morning sky with the rose-tinted hue.

Aphrodite named the flower the rose in honor of her son Eros, the Greek god of love. Hence, roses are associated with love. Flora presented Eros with the rose as his own in the hope that it would maintain the romantic associations. Eros shared it with Harpocrates, the god of silence, as a bribe to keep secret the indiscretions of his mother, and the rose became associated with silence and secrets as well as love.

According to Roman legend, Flora also had a hand in the creation of Mars, the god of war. Juno, the wife of Jupiter, was jealous that Jupiter had given life to Minerva on his own, so she enlisted the aid of Flora to help her create a son of her own. Flora reluctantly agreed after Juno swore by the river Styx to never tell Jupiter that Flora had taken part. Flora touched Juno with a magickal flower, and Mars began to grown in Juno’s womb. Mars was born and went on to sire Romulus and Remus, who became the founders of Rome.

There was an ancient and somewhat infamous, Roman festival held in Flora’s honor, called the Floralia. It was celebrated annually from the end of April through the beginning of May. The dates suggest that the original purpose of the festival was to beseech Flora to refrain from allowing mildew to fall upon the crops. It is further believed that the Floralia was the inspiration for the Maypole and Mayday celebrations known today as Beltane. The floralia featured chariot races, theater shows, games and lavish banquets. Altars and temples were decorated with every type of flower known to humankind. The participants wore wreaths of flowers in their hair and left offerings of milk and honey.

The Floralia was also a festival known for its unrestrained pleasures. During the celebrations, marriage vows were temporarily forgotten and the celebrants allowed themselves a wide range of a sexual partners. Prostitutes claimed Flora as their matron deity and celebrated her festival vigorously.

Later, as Beltane traditions evolved, Flora became known as a companion of the fairies. This eventually evolved into legends of Flora as a fairy herself. However, it is believed that was borne of some confusion between the Goddess Flora and the fairy Florelia, who is mentioned in tomes of old as a treasure of the Earth akin to Queen Mah.

The role of the flower, and therefore that of Flora, is as important today as it was in ancient times. Almost all holidays and customs include an appropriate flower. We often send flowers to cheer those who are sick, to say farewell to those who have passed, and to celebrate mile-marker events such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. We make use of the scents in perfumes and potpourris and bathing products. We make candles, jellies, wines, and salads from the petals. Flora’s bounty covers everything from poisonous to healing flowers. Chamomile, jasmine, and linden flowers are commonly added to herbal teas. The purple foxglove is the base of the medicine digitalis, which is used in the treatment of heart conditions.

Flowers also have magickal qualities, many of which are steeped in superstition. For instance, the daisy is often used as a divination tool in love matters by plucking the petals off while reciting, “He/she loves me, he/she loves me not.” The dandelion is often used as a tool to bring one’s wishes to fruition by flowing the seeds to the wind. As the wind carries the seeds, it carries one’s wishes to the Goddess as well.

In the Victorian era, flowers were given their own language. A certain type of flower had a specific meaning, which was further sub-divided into categories determined by the color of the flower. For instance, to send a red rose meant “I love you,” whereas to send a yellow rose meant friendship or jealousy. The number of flowers sent also had a specific meaning. It was said to be bad luck to send an even number of flowers.


When the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed in Florida, he looked around at all the many flowers and thought he had found the land containing the Fountain of Youth. He then name the state Florida in honor of Flora.

While we may not choose to celebrate Flora the same way the Romans did, we can honor her on her special days with simple things that remind us of her presence. We can drink flower teas, add flower petals to our baths, prepare meals with edible flowers, decorate our homes and altars with garland and wreaths, wear floral colors, or perform a ritual, or even simply take a walk through flower-strewn fields.

The Wiccan Book of Days for Feb. 6th – Lady of Love and Magick

Lady of Love and Magick

So compelling was the cult of Isis, the greatest of the Ancient Egyptian Goddesses, that her worship spread to Greece, and thence to Rome, and indeed, she continue to be venerated today. “Isis of Ten Thousand Names” is often invoked on this day in her incarnation as the Green Goddess, a young and beautiful Goddess of nature who broadly corresponds with the Greek Aphrodite, is especially associated with love and sex, and has the blessing of fertility within her gift. In this aspect, Isis’s primary symbol is the tyet, a red talisman worn by her followers that is thought to represent her knotted girdle and menstrual blood.

 

“Tarot Teachings”

On this day, meditate on the fifth major-arcana Tarot card, the Pope, or Hierophant (V), representing spiritual authority. Revisit or explore the tenets and teachings of traditional religions to see if they could add a rewarding dimension to your life and beliefs.

The Wiccan Book of Days for Feb. 3rd – Februa in Februarius

Wiccan Pictures, Images, Comments, Graphics

Februa in Februarius

The transition from January to February heralded the arrival of a major Sabbat, but now that Imbolc has been celebrated, there is time to reflect on the name of the second month of the solar year. “February” is ultimately derived from the Latin word februum, which means “purification” or “purgation” and is linked with the Februa (or Februalia) festival of purification, expiation, and atonement that was held in Rome on February 15. It is thought that both the Roman month of Februarius an Februa, during which sacrifices were made to he dead were dedicated to Febuus, a god of the underworld.

“Many Happy Returns”

On this day, ponder upon the Wiccan threefold law of return, which holds that any magick that you do unto others will rebound three times as strongly upon yourself. Think hard before casting a spiteful spell lest you later have personal cause to rue its consequences.

The God Dis Pater

Dis Pater

Dis Pater, or Dispater was a Roman (Gaulish) god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades. Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity.

Dis Pater was commonly shortened to simply Dis. This name has since become an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, such as the Dis of The Divine Comedy.

Dis Pater was originally a god of wealth, much like the Roman god Pluto (from Greek Πλούτων, Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”), who was later equated with Dis Pater. Dis is contracted from the Latin dis (from dives meaning “rich”), and pater (“father”), the literal meaning of Dis Pater being “Wealthy Father” or “Father of Riches.”

Julius Caesar writes in Commentarii de Bello Gallico that the Gauls considered Dis Pater to be an ancestor. In thus interpreting the Gauls’ god as Dis, Caesar offers one of his many examples of interpretatio Romana, the re-identification of foreign divinities as their closest Roman counterparts. The choice of Dis to translate whatever Celtic divinity Caesar has in mind – most likely Cernunnos, as the two are both associated with both the Underworld and prosperity – may in part be due to confusion between Dis Pater and the Proto-Indo-European deity Dyeus, who would have been addressed as Dyeu Phter (“Sky Father”). This name is also the likely origin of the name of many Indo-European gods, including Zeus and Jupiter.

Like Pluto, Dis Pater eventually became associated with death and the underworld because the wealth of the earth—gems and precious metals—was considered in the domain of the Greco-Roman underworld. As a result, Dis Pater was over time conflated with the Greek god Pluto.

In being conflated with Pluto, Dis Pater took on some of the Greek mythological attributes of Pluto/Hades, being one of the three sons of Saturn (Greek: Cronus) and Ops (Greek: Rhea), along with Jupiter and Neptune. He ruled the underworld and the dead beside his wife, Proserpina (Greek: Persephone). In literature, Dis Pater was commonly used as a symbolic and poetic way of referring to death itself.

In 249 BC and 207 BC, the Roman Senate under Senator Lucius Catelli ordained special festivals to appease Dis Pater and Proserpina. Every hundred years, a festival was celebrated in his name. According to legend, a round marble altar, Altar of Dis Pater and Proserpina (Latin: Ara Ditis Patris et Proserpinae), was miraculously discovered by the servants of a Sabine called Valesius, the ancestor of the first consul. The servants were digging in the Tarentum on the edge of the Campus Martius to lay foundations following instructions given to Valesius’s children in dreams, when they found the altar 20 feet (6 m) underground. Valesius reburied the altar after three days of games. Sacrifices were offered to this altar during the Ludi Saeculares or Ludi Tarentini. It may have been uncovered for each occasion of the games, to be reburied afterwards, a clearly chthonic tradition of worship. It was rediscovered in 1886–87 beneath the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Rome.

In addition to being considered the ancestor of the Gauls, Dis Pater was sometimes identified with the Sabine god Soranus. In southern Germany and the Balkans, Dis Pater had a Celtic goddess, Aericura, as a consort. Dis Pater was rarely associated with foreign deities in the shortened form of his name, Dis.

Encyclopedia Mythica

VESTA / HESTIA

 

VESTA / HESTIA
..
Vesta was the Roman Goddess of the hearth and home (Hestia was her Greek counterpart). Her six Vestal Virgins (virgin in the sense that they belonged to no man – they were “one within”) tended her sacred fire in a round temple in Rome and the Romans offered a prayer to her every day at their own hearths. On March 1st, every year, her priestesses extinguished the fire and relit it. Her worship was connected with fertility and to let her light go out would mean that civilization would also end. On June 9th, the Vestalia was held when her priestesses baked salt cakes and sacrificed them on Vesta’s fire for 8 days, after which the temple was closed, cleaned out and then reopened the next day. She holds an oil lamp from 1st century Pompeii and wears a Roman earring from the 3rd-4th centuries. The statues of Senior Vestal Virgins in the background are from the House of the Vestal Virgins in the Roman Forum (heads and hands restored ). On the wall is a Roman frieze from the College of Vestal Virgins.
.
http://www.goddessmyths.com/Vesta.JPG

Goddess Of The Day: VESTA

Goddess Of The Day: VESTA
Feast of Vesta (Rome)
 
Themes: Home; Love; Fertility; Peace
Symbols: Fire; Donkey; Veils
 
About Vesta: In Roman mythology, Vesta was part of every fire. As such, Vesta commands the sacred fires of the hearth, the heart of spiritual and emotional stability in your home. Today was one other festival days, Christianized as the Feast of the Ass, which is a sacred animal to her. Traditional offerings for Vesta include homemade bread and salt cakes.
 
In works of art, Vesta was never shown directly but always depicted her in veils, possibly to honor her importance in Roman society. The vestal priestess was one of the few people considered suited to negotiating peace during war threats.
 
To Do Today: The first month of the year is a good time to think about the spiritual warmth in your living space. Ask Vesta to kindle those fires anew. Do this by lighting any fire source you have handy-a match, a candle, the oven, a pilot light-or, alternatively, just turn on a light as a symbolic fire. Be sure to keep this lit all day. When a fire goes out on Vesta’s day, it’s considered a bad omen, indicative of love being lost. To encourage peace on any battleground you’re facing this year, light a white candle (the color of truce) and put it in a window to invite Vesta’s presence (being sure it’s safe to do so, of course). Then take a piece of bread outside, breaking it into small bits so the birds can carry your wish of harmony across the earth.
By Patricia Telesco

Pagan Studies – Moon Miscellany

Pagan StudiesMoon Miscellany

 
New Moon – White Goddess of birth and growth.
Full Moon – Red Goddess of love and battle.
Old Moon – Black Goddess of death and divination.
 
All hail to thee, Queen of heaven!
Thou showest two horns to mark six days,
And on the seventh will divide thy crown in two.
On the fourteenth day, turn thy full face unto us.
 
Seven is the Moon’s mystic number, because each one of its four phases is completed in seven days.
 
Nineteen is a sacred number in Old Irish and Celtic lore, for the sequence of Moon phases within a single zodiac sign is repeated every 19 years.
 
The Mansions of the Moon, abodes of the soul, refer to the position of the Moon at noon on each of the 28 days in a lunar month.
 
Bow to the new Moon, especially the first new Moon of the year, as a sign of respect. It is courting disaster to point at the Moon at any time. Turn a silver coin in your purse or pocket at the first sight of the new Moon to gain luck.
It is bad luck to see the new Moon for the first time on your left, or behind you, or through the branches of a tree. A new Moon on Saturday means foul weather. A full Moon on Sunday brings bad luck and toilers of the sea should not set sail.
 
The Roman astrologers of classical times considered the Moon sign of a horoscope to be of far greater significance than the Sun sign.
 
Marsilioi Ficino, the Florentine philosopher of the Renaissance, defined the planetary image of the spirit of the Moon as an archer riding a doe, a huntress with bows and arrows, a little boy, a goose, or a single arrow.
 
Diana, Goddess of the Moon and patroness of witches, was regarded as a demon by the early Christians.
 
Waxing: as the size of the Moon increases, its form takes the shape of the capital letter D: D for Daring. This marks a time for creativity, expansion, and development. You may glance up at the sky in the late afternoon to see the pale waxing half Moon beckoning. Later on as darkness falls, it shines like a beacon of hope in the west, raising your spirits and assuring the success of your ventures.
 
Waning: rising later night after night, the Moon diminishes in size, now assuming the form of the letter C: C for Caring. The time has come to relax, restore energy, and quietly dispel negative influences in your life. Banish fear, unworthy desires, and selfish motivations as the Moon wanes.
.
Excerpted From Elizabeth Pepper, The Witches’ Almanac, Ltd.

)0(

Your Daily Number for Jan. 12th: 4

Show others they can depend on you today; be focused and work hard. You may feel like procrastinating in the face of all the demands that are placed on you. It’s important today to follow through on your words with action and avoid making promises you can’t fulfill.

Fast Facts

About the Number 4

Theme: Form, Work, Order, Practicality, Discipline
Astro Association: Aries
Tarot Association: Emperor