Tuesday, February 14, 2012
While in no way a Wiccan festival, Valentine's Day has become so much a part of our modern calendar that it seems unreasonable to omit here.
While this day is named after one of two Christian Martyrs of the same name, there have been fertility festivals around this time for much longer.
The 15th of February is the Roman festival of Faunus, also know to the ancient Greeks as Lupercalia or the festival of Pan. Both woodland deities, Faunus and Pan are closely linked at this time to Priapus who originated in Asia, definitely a fertility God. Images of the God were decorated and displayed through the streets and the Priests would whip members of the crowd, especially women, to bring on fertility.
In addition to the Gods and festivals of fertility there are a great number of Gods and Goddesses who are linked to love, like Eros, Venus and Hathor, and these are perhaps more appropriate deities to honor if you are seeking love and romance. Light a pink candle to your chosen deities and ask them to bring you a true love. Resist the temptation to work magick to make someone to love you: not only is it unethical but it also invariably results in problems and disappointment.
While today it is customary for us to send greeting card, whether romantic or humorous, to those we love, this only originated in the Victorian era. Before this it was a country custom, which still exists in some parts, for unattached girls and boys to draw names from which to choose their partner for this day.
[From Kate West's The Real Witches' Year]
St. Valentine's Day: The First of the Resurrected Lupercalia Festivals (Roman) -
Lupercalia was the festival of the natural 'heat' - the sexual readiness that permeated nature, especially the wolves. Lupa is the wolf; she was a sacred animal symbolizing Mother Nature's breeding aspect. This was the original St. Valentine's Day, when the original minds of people turned to celebrations of their sexuality and attraction.
St. Valentine's Day customs originated in Rome, when willing young maidens wrote their names on slips of papyrus, put them in a box, shook them up, and let young men pull out the names of their valentines. The young people then spent the day together as companions, and Goddess knows what great adventure came of it all - romance, marriage or just a day to remember. The names were equally matched by both sexes so nobody had to go home alone after the drawings.
Records in England go back to 1479 of girls writing letters to their valentines, when the custom of drawing names was no longer in use and youth simply sent letters to each other with their feelings expressed inside. In the 1880s lace, heart-painted satin, ornaments, birds, baskets, ribbons and cupids were added to the letters, and rhymes and perfume followed. Today it is a thinly fertility holiday of love and sex. Yes, the fertility rites never die, they just acquire more props!
[From: The Grandmother of Time by Zsuzsanna Budapest]