Juno Covella - February

FEBRUARY

Goddesses of the Calendar Month:

Spenta Armaiti, Spandarmat
Juno Februa
Februarius (personified)
Brighde
Moura
 
FEBRUARY 1st


Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE (KORE); The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, First Day. (Note: The Greek festivals are normally entered in the Moveable Calendar. When, however, a definite corresponding date has been given in the fixed calendar, they are entered under that date). (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “February 1. The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, First Day”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 1st - 3rd: Three Days of the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries. Preparation for Initiation”.

(Lempriere, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... The festivals were divided into greater and lesser mysteries. These lesser mysteries were observed at Agrae near the Ilissus … In later times the smaller festivals were preparatory to the greater, and no person could be initiated at Eleusis without a previous purification at Agrae.” (Enc. Brit. 1810 ed.) “Eleusinia ... The person who was to be initiated in the lesser mysteries, as well as the greater, according to the original instructions, was to be a person of unblemished moral character.” (Seyffert, Dict.) “Eleusinia ... The events celebrated in the mysteries were the descent of Persephone into the world below, and her return to light and to her mother. The former were celebrated at the greater Eleusinia between autumn and seed-time; the latter in spring at the lesser Eleusinia”. (Kerenyi, Eleusis, p. 48) “The Lesser Mysteries were held at Agrai in the month of Anthesterion, our February”. (id. p. 50) “In the classical period the cult at Agrai was regarded as the ‘Lesser Mysteries of Demeter’ and as the ‘Mysteries of Persephone’.”

(Kerenyi, id. p. 58) from a description of a relief showing Heracles prepared for the Lesser Mysteries: “At Agrai, as at Eleusis, the goddess, turned outwards, is seated in front of the secrets. She is sitting on a great round basket, the cista mystica, in which the paraphernalia of the myesis are hidden. Now that the initiand is cleansed and ready, they may be shown him. Now he may receive instruction and learn what he has to learn. Behind her mother’s back she, too, stands there, the well-known figure of the Kore …” Note: (id. p. 46) “Myesis can be rendered by the Latin word initia, ‘beginnings’, or its derivative initiatio, or initiation, signifying introduction into the secret”.

Roman: JUNO SOSPITA, Saviour. (Ovid, Fasti, 11. 55) “February 1st At the beginning of the month the Saviour (Sospita) Juno, the neighbour of the Phrygian Mother Goddess, is said to have been honoured with new shrines”.

(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 1st ... Juno Sospita, Saviour. Rescue work, psychic level”.
 
Carthaginian: TANAT, TANITH. See under May 1st.

Celtíc: Óímelc, Imbolc. (Joyce, Soc. Hist. of Ireland, Vol. II. p. 388) “Errach or Spring began on the first of February. This day was called oimelc, imolg, or imbulc: The first form oimele is given in Cormac’s Glossary (p. 127, ‘ói’), where it is derived from ói, a sheep, and melc or melg, milk: ói-melg “ewe-milk”, for that is the time the sheep’s milk comes.’ That oimelc is the first of February we know from Peter O,Connell’s Dictionary, where oimelc is identified with Feil Brighde (St. Brigit’s feast day), which has been, and is still, the Irish name for the first of February all through Ireland”.
 
BRIGANTIA, BRIGHID. (Joyce, id. p. 390) “O’Curry asserted that according to the authority of an ancient Irish poem, of which he had a copy, the year began on the 1st February. Sick Bed Atlantis I. 390, note 2.” See also preceding paragraph.

(McLean, Four Fire Fest. p. 16) “Brigantia: the first of February. The day of Bride or Brigit, the Celtic Goddess in her young woman aspect, marked the Celtic spring festival ...

“... Each year, as the first glimmer of dawn appears, the Cailleach (Note: See under November 1st) is transformed into the fair young Goddess Bride ...

“We find here the female mystery of germination of the seed, the process which spiritually was beginning to happen in the earth after the cold contractive forces of winter ... and the youthful energies of the Bride facet of the Goddess could come into being”.
 
(id.) on Brighid’s Day customs: “Perhaps one of the most important and archetypal aspects of this festival was the lighting of candles or torches at midnight. This activity was transferred in more recent centuries to February the 2nd ... At her shrine in Kildare, a sacred flame burnt continuously … So we have here a connection with St. Bride’s Day, in the ritual use of fire as light”.

(Brewer, The Beauties of Ireland, p. 30) on the holy fire of Brighid at Kildare: “ ‘Perhaps’, writes Sir James Ware, ‘... it might seem to have taken its origin from an imitation of the Vestal Virgins …’ That the custom had a pagan original is unquestionable”.
 
(McLean, Four Fire Fest. p. 17) on Brighid’s Day customs: “In the Highlands of Scotland, an effigy of Bride made by the young woman from the last year’s cornsheaf, was carried around the community, and gifts were collected for the Bride Feast. The festival here was strictly matriarchal, the door of the feasting place was barred to the men of the community who had to plead humbly to honour Bride”.
 
(Lux Madriana Cal.) “Brighde 10 (February 1) Feast of Lights.” (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “February 1 ... Brighde, Celtic Goddess of Youth. Oimele, Celtic Spring Festival”.

(Druids Cal.) “February 1. Imbolg. A feast of propitiation to the Great Mother, asking the return of her fruitfulness. Later associated with St. Bridget, who was seen as a manifestation of the Earth Mother. Celebrated in conjunction with the day following”.

(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 1st. Brighid. The Arts and Healing through water. Crafts”.
 
Irish: ST. BRIGHID, Là Fheile Brighde, Brigid’s Feast Day. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “February 1. St. Brigid, Virgin, Patron of Ireland”. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “February 1. Brigid, Irish Patroness Saint, born c. 452”.
 
(Danaher, The Year in Ireland, p. 13) “In Irish folk tradition St. Brighid’s Day, 1 February, is the first day of Spring, and thus of the farmer’s year. It is the festival of Ireland’s venerated and much-loved ... saint, who is also the patroness of cattle and dairy work. In the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1945, p. 164, Seán O’Suilleabháin wrote: ‘... Every manifestation of the cult of the saint (or of the [ancient] deity) is closely bound up in some way with food-production, and this must be the chief line of approach to a study of this spring festival’.”
 
(Co. Kildare Arch. Journ. V. p. 441, cited by Danaher, The Year in Ireland, p. 27) “On St. Brigid’s Day ‘the Breedhoge’, was carried round by the young people from house to house, at which collections of food and money were made ‘in honour ,of Miss Biddy’ …”

“ ‘The Breedhoge, consisted of a churn-dash, round which wisps of hay or locks of straw were tied to resemble a human figure. A ball of hay served as a head, and was covered with a white muslin cap, such as worn by old women. The figure was clad in a woman’s dress, and a shawl completed the costume”. See also under January 31st.

Among other customs connected with St. Brighid and her emblem the following are described by Danaher (id. p. 22): “In explanation of why the crosses (note: See under January 31st) were made and put up, tradition without hesitation answers ‘protection’. Protection against fire, storm, and lightning is the most usual reason given, but illness and epidemic disease were also held at bay …
 
“After making the crosses the residue of the material was not just thrown away. In parts of Donegal, Tyrone and Antrim it was neatly arranged on the floor near the hearth, sometimes covered with a white cloth, to form a bed for the saint when she visited the house.
 
“In some houses rush-lights were made from the residue and lit in honour of the saint.
 
“The straw or rushes left over from the making of the crosses, or from the sheaf or bundle left at the door for the saint or from ‘Brighid’s bed’ was believed to have curative powers. Strands from it were preserved and tied about an aching head or a sore limb during the night. Others Put a wisp under the mattress or - pillow to ward off disease. In parts of Donegal the fishermen wore a little ribbon from the residual rushes or straw and carried it when at sea to gain the saint’s protection.
 
“In a few places in County Leitrim, children ... got a small piece of a flat wooden board about 30 cms by 15 cms and with the viscous exudation of a partly boiled or roasted potato fixed peeled rushes upon it in figures representing ‘the sun, the moon and the stars’; this was then hung up with the cross”.
 
(T.G.F. Paterson in Ulster Journ. of Arch. 1945, p. 48 cited by Danaher, The Year in Ireland, p. 37) “Saint Brigid’s love for birds and their affection for her are well-known, and in County Armagh one will occasionally hear linnets described as ‘Brigid’s Birds’. If on Brigid’s Day the lark should sing it is accepted as an omen of a good spring”.
 
(Danaher, id. p. 37) “Another tradition tells that hoar-frost, gathered from the grass on the morning of St. Brighid’s day is an infallible cure for headache. The saint’s love of animals was remembered by giving some special, tasty food to the cows and horses ...

“Many people brought water from a well dedicated to St. Brighid and sprinkled it on the house and its occupants, the farm buildings, livestock and fields, invoking the blessing of the saint”.

(Michael Finlan in The Irish Times, Feb. 2 1973) on St. Brighid: “She is associated with cattle and with such flowers as the dandelion which is called the plant of Bride. The milky juice of the dandelion is, in legend, supposed to nurture young lambs in spring.

“The well-known Crosses of St. Brigid, which resemble Swastikas, have their origin in pagan times. They were used as magic charms and were traditionally believed to protect the home.”
 
General: THE WITCHES, Greater Sabbat. (Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon, p. 108) “Covens also usually meet on the ‘Sabbats’, the eight great festivals of European Paganism, the Quarter days and the Cross Quarter days ... The greater Sabbats are: Samhain ... Oimelc (February 1) the winter purification festival, the time of the beginning of spring movement; Beltane ... Lughnasadh ... These festivals renew a sense of living communion with natural cycles, with the changes of season and land.” See also February 2nd.
 
(Farrar, What Witches Do, p. 91) “The seasonal Festivals. Says the Goddess: ‘Ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also is joy on earth ... Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth.’ (From the Charge)”.


FEBRUARY 2nd

Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; "The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, Second Day."
 
Roman: CERES and PROSERPINE; LUPA. (Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. Vol. II. p. 51) “the list of festivals for the whole Christian church was swelled by the consecration of the day [February 2nd] of the holy virgin Mary, that the people might not miss their Lupercalia, which they were accustomed to celebrate in the month of February.” Note by Soames: “This was instituted in the reign of Justinian, and fixed to the second of February ... The Latins called it ... Candlemass; because many candles were then lighted up; as had been done on the Lupercalia, the festival of Proserpine, whom her mother Ceres searched for with candles ... See Hospinian, de Fest. Christ, p. 52.

(Whistler, English Fest. p. 86) “the early Church instituted on February 2nd the Feast of Lights, blessed her candles, placed by the altar in sheaves, and filled her basilicas with candleshine ... ‘Thus’, said the Pope, ‘what was done before to the honour of Ceres, is now done to the honour of the Virgin’. (Foot-note) Quoted by William Hone, The Every-Day Book, Vol. 1 Col. 202”.

JÚNÓ FEBRUA, The Purifier. (Brewer, Dict.) “Candlemas Day ... It was the old Roman custom of burning candles to the goddess Februa, mother of Mars, to scare away evil spirits”.
 
Celtic: BRIGANTIA, BRIGHID. (Denning and Phillips, Magical Philosophy, Vol. III. p. 166) “Brigid is the most widely powerful of the Celtic Goddesses. She is the power of the new moon, of the spring of the year, and of the flowing sea. In Ireland she is most famed, and in Britain she was Goddess of the widespread tribe of the Brigantes. Her festival, from ancient times to the present, is the second of February, the Celtic FireFestival of Imbolc ... In Pagan times, her statue was annually washed in sea or lake to celebrate her festival, being conveyed ceremonially overland, in a chariot or a boat; in her associated with a ship - she may be compared to Isis (note: see March 5th) ... Always with candles and with water do we greet her, the great Moon-Mother, patroness of poetry and of ‘all making’ and of the arts of healing.”
 
(B. Morgan, Matriarchy Newsletter, No. 2) “Just as Hallowe’en marks the retreat into winter darkness and symbolises menstruation at the dark of the moon, so Candlemass marks the opening out of the natural world, ovulation, and emerges into the pure light of Spring first glimpsed at the Winter Solstice. The festivals symbolise on another level the Celtic belief in reincarnation; death at Hallowe’en followed by gestation in the dark space-womb of the Goddess and rebirth in a new body at Candlemass. This is the time for initiations in witchcraft, a rebirth of the spirit.

“Candlemass is when we come spiralling out again from the darkness, and our matriarchal symbol, the spiral, seems to recur in many aspects of Brigit’s cult. The dynamic shape of her crosses, the curling coats of her sheep and perhaps even the twisted patterns in Aran wool, handed down from mother to daughter, are part of her”.

British-Roman: SUL-MINERVA. (B. Morgan, id.) “Sul-Minerva of Bath seems to be identical with Brigid; a goddess of knowledge and healing with an ‘ashless fire’ in her sanctuary. If Sul, whose name derives from the Celtic words for the eye (i.e. suil) and seeing, is cognate with the Goddess of Silbury Hill, there could well have been a procession at Candlemass to her sacred spring, the Swellowhead, which begins to flow again in February, when the Queen ‘comes from the mound’.”

English: THE WIVES. (Esther Harding, Woman’s Mysteries, p. 131) “In the north of England ... Candlemass used to be called The Wives Feast Day because it was regarded as a fertility festival”.

General: THE WITCHES, Great Sabbat. (Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft, p. 98) on Druidic links with Witchcraft: “the Great Sabbats of the witches are identical with the four great yearly festivals of the Druids in Celtic countries; namely Beltane (30th April), Lughnassadh (1st August), Samhain (31st October) and Imbolc or Oimelc (2nd February)”. See also, February 1st.

Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY. (Esther Harding, Woman’s Myst. p. 130) “Another ancient festival of candies celebrated long ago for a moon goddess is now repeated on the same date, February the second, for the Virgin Mary, Moon of our Church ... This is the Festival of Candlemas. It corresponds in date and customs to the Celtic Holy Day of St. Bride or St. Brigit. St. Brigit is the Christianized form of the ancient Celtic goddess Bridgit or Brigentis, a triune moon goddess whose worship was at one time very widespread. On February the first, as today in the Catholic Church at the Festival of Candlemas, the new fire was kindled and blessed”.

(Whistler, English Fest. p. 87) An extract from an account written by a prebendary of Durham, in 1628, of John Cosin, bishop’s chaplain, later Bishop of Durham: “ ‘On Candlemas Day last past, Mr. Cozens, in renuing that . . ceremonie of burning candles in honour of Our Ladye, busied himself from two of the clocke in the afternoon till foure, in climbing long ladders to stick up wax Candles in the said Cathedral Church. The number of all the Candles burnt that evening was two hundred and twenty, besides sixteen torches: sixty of those burning tapers and torches standing up, and near, the High Altar …’ ” (id.) “A writer to the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1790 noticed at Ripon that ‘the Collegiate church was one continued blaze of light all the afternoon, from an immense number of candles’. Today, in all Roman Catholic churches, and in some Anglican ones, the feast of lights is remembered, and there is much blessing and processing with tapers ... Snowdrops are ‘Mary’s Tapers’ - ‘Candlemas Bells’. They are the day’s particular flower”.
 
THE CANDLEMAS QUEEN. (Farrar, Eight Sabbats, p. 66) “Imbolg, 2nd February ... In Christian tradition, the Crown of Lights is often worn by a very young girl, presumably to symbolize the extreme youth of the year”.

In an illustration shown by Dr. Margaret Murray (The God of the Witches, p. 15) the Swedish Lucia-Queen is a girl wearing a crown of seven tapers set in a circle.

THE TRIPLE GODDESS; THE IMBOLG MOTHER. (Farrar, Eight Sabbats, p. 66) “Imbolg ... The Preparation:

“The High Priestess selects two women witches who, with herself, will represent the Triple Goddess-Maid (Enchantment), Mother (Ripeness) and Crone (Wisdom) - and allocates the three roles.

“A Crown of Lights is prepared for the Mother and left by the altar. Traditionally, the Crown should be of candles or tapers, which are lit during the ritual”.
 
Groundhog Day. (Druids Cal.) “February 2nd: Groundhog Day.” (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 2nd: Groundhog Day. Down to Earth for growth”. 
 
FEBRUARY 3rd

Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, Last Day.


FEBRUARY 5th
 
Egyptian: ISIS. (Cumont, Orient. Rel. p. 237) on the Navigium Isidis (See March 5th): “This festival seems to have persisted at Catana in the worship of Saint Agatha; cf. Analecta Bollandiana, XXV, 1906, p. 509.” (Witt, Isis in Graeco-Roman World, p. 183). “At Catania in Sicily remarkable resemblances have been detected between the local Feast of ‘St. Agatha’, and the Isis Festival (i.e. Navigium Isidis) the Saint’s victorious Veil being received to the sound of tambourines such as would have pleased Isis’ ear. Ciaceri, Cultie Miti, p. 268”.

Roman: ST. AGATHA. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “February 5. S. Agatha, Virgin …”

(Church of England Cal.) “February 5. Agatha, Virgin” …

February 8th

Irish: ST. BRIGID, Octave. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “February 8. Kildare, Leighlin. Octave of St. Brigid.”


February 11th

Irish: ST. GOBNAT. (Lewis’s Top. Dict. Ireland) “Ballyvourney ... Near these [ecclesiastical] ruins is a holy well, much resorted to on the 11th of February, the festival of St. Gobnata, the patroness, and also on Whit-Monday”. See also February 14th and June 9th.

French: OUR LADY OF LOURDES, The Apparition at Lourdes. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “February 11. Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate”.

(von Daniken, Miracles of the Gods, p. 213) “11.2.1858. St. Bernadette Soubirous had several visions of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes, France, when she called herself the ‘Immaculate Conception’.” (id. p. 72) “From 11th February to 16th July, 1858, Bernadette Soubirous had a total of 16 visions of Mary in [the] grotto on the spot where the marble statue is worshipped by the hopeful today”.
 
(Denning and Phillips, Mag. Phil. Vol. 111. p. 147) “Where a succession of cults has obtained, the same places have often been holy to each in turn. Sometimes the new manifestation takes on distinctive features which link it strangely to a former one. The cave at Lourdes, for example, which was the site of Bernadette’s uniquely remarkable series of visions, had in previous centuries been a shrine of the Goddess-cult. It is known that the herb which grew in the cave, and of which she ate in the course of her guided actions, was a sacred plant in the bygone cult”.

Greek: PERSEPHONE. (Olivia Robertson, The Call of Isis, p. 125) “Studying the Eleusinian mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, to me the visions of Lourdes and Fatima are a portrayal of these dramas in actual human history.

“The Lesser Mystery was shown at Lourdes in the form of a beautiful maiden appearing in a grotto. The young girl who witnessed the visions drew forth a stream of healing water from the mud …

“The Lesser Mystery of Lourdes, therefore, portrayed Persephone, Queen of Day and Night … in control of the elements of Earth and Water”.
 
See also under Chronological Eras.


FEBRUARY 12th

Greek: ARTEMIS. Roman: DIANA (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “February 12th. Artemis, Diana, The Divine Huntress”. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 12th: Artemis. Diana, Purification. Protection of wild life. Psychic realm. Moon”.


FEBRUARY 13th

Roman: MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia, First Day. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Manes, i.e. the good. A name given by the Romans to the spirits of the dead, which were held to be immortal like the gods, and hence designated as such (dii manes) ... Besides the private celebrations there was also a public and universal festival, the Parentalia, which lasted from the 13th to the 21st of February, the last month of the older Roman year; the last day had the special name Feralia”. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Manes … the word manes is supposed to be derived from Mania, who was by some reckoned the mother of those tremendous deities ... the epitaphs of the Romans were always superscribed with D.M. Dis Manibus”. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Feralia .. last day of the dies parentales (beginning at noon on 13th February).

(Ausonius, Parentalia, Praef.) “The loving respect of the living has, indeed, no more holy office it can perform than to call to mind with due reverence those who has departed from us.”

The important influence of the Manes is shown in the following epitaph (Montfaucon, Antiq. Suppl. p. 505): “Holy Souls ought to be honoured. This monument is holy to the Deities Manes. Furia Spes to Lucius Sempronius Firmus her dearest husband. From the time that I first knew him from our tender Years, a Bond of Love was made betweed us. I pray you, ye Holy Deities Manes, to let me recommend my Husband to you and to use him indulgently, and to permit him to come to me, and to be visible to me by night …”
 
VESTA. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “February 13th. Virgo Vesta parental. Senatus”.
(Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “February 13th. Parentalia tumulorum …”
 
FEBRUARY 14th

Roman: MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia, Second Day.

Irish: ST. GOBNAT. (Carlisle, Top. Dict.) “Ballyvourney or The Town of the Beloved, in the Co. of Cork ... ‘Her (i.e. St. Gobnata) Patron day is February 14th’. Archdall’s Monast. Hibern. p. 57”. According to Archdall’s account St. Gobnat flourished in about the year 600. (Smith, County and City of Cork. Vol. I. p. 162) “Ballyvourney … The church is dedicated to St. Gobnata … The Irish visit this place on Whitsun-Mondays and on the 14th of February, which last is the patron day of this Saint. About thirty yards from the west end of the church ... her rood or image is set up on those days. Here the devotees ... go round it on their knees and repeat a certain number of prayers. They also tie their handkerchiefs, etc. about its neck, which they imagine will preserve them from several diseases. Near this ... is a stone fixed in the ground, and worn by the knees of those who come here in pilgrimage, and adjacent is a well dedicated to this saint … Round [a circle of stones] and the well there are paths worn by the knees of the devotees. The image is kept in a chest very private, and never exposed but upon festival days, and when it is carried to sick people”. (foot-note) “the Archbishop of Tuam … says: ‘... I know, that in County of Cork, great devotion is paid to her and her image, in which I never could find that the poor people were restrained, but rather encouraged by their clergy‘… [An] Indulgence was granted by Pope Clement VIII, to such as go in devotion to this church ... In the parish of Kilshonick, in a mountainous tract, there is another well dedicated to this Saint Gobnata, which is also visited on the 14th of February”. See also under June 9th.

Roman: LUPA (Whistler, English Festivals, p. 90) “St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th … Like the candles of Candlemas, recently gone by, it comes to us by direct descent from the Lupercalia of pagan Rome ... It was about the middle of the month that the names of willing young ladies were put in a box and well shaken up, so that each young blood could draw out one at random; the girl thus won to remain his companion while the gaieties lasted ... centuries passed and still the lottery for girls continued ... ‘It is a ceremony never omitted among the Vulgar’, wrote Bourne in 1725, ‘to draw lots which they term Valentines. The names of a select number of one sex are by an equal number of the other put into some vessel; and after that, everyone draws a name, which for the present is called their Valentine, and is also look’d upon as a good omen of their being man and wife afterwards’.

“... Pepys on February 14th, 1661 ... left home early to make sure of his Valentine. ‘Up early to Sir W. Batten’s … so up I went, and took Mrs. Martha for my Valentine ... and then Sir W. Batten he go in the same manner to my wife, and so we were very merry.’ ...

“... As long ago, as 1479 a girl was writing a letter ‘Unto my right well-beloved Valuntyne, John Paston, (the Paston Letters). Letters of this kind were written for the next three hundred years; and then there appeared in the February letter-box what we now call ‘the Victorian Valentine’ ... in 1880 a million and a half were sent off (foot-note: In 1825, 200,000. In 1855, 800,000 ... 1,634,000 in 1882. Figures supplied by the G.P.O. Librarian) …

“the 1840’s were now adding the use of lace, hand-painted satin, and a variety of ornaments … the Valentine broke into a pimply froth of lace; its leaves became plural, studded with birds, baskets, ribbons and cupids ... its petals turned pink and gold, opening into trellis-work doors, one beneath another, to reveal at last the trembling delicacy of rhyme. And it acquired perfume ... How long a journey from the Lupercalian ballot box!

“... It is true that popular Valentines, printed on paper and brightly coloured, were not always humorous but they were frequently so. Sometimes, the humour was contrived by a simple mechanism. Beneath a picture of a girl in a crinoline there is a rhyme warning the recipient not to go out in a high wind. When a ribbon is pulled at the top of the card the skirt rises coyly to her ankles, revealing the lace-edged extremity of a pair of drawers …

“... In 1935 [the Post Office] invited the author’s brother, Rex Whistler, to provide the first ‘St. Valentine’s Telegram’. Copies of the gay-coloured form he designed, larger than usual and printed on better paper, were issued to every office of delivery, in advance. By the end of that day 49,000 had been despatched to the fair in golden envelopes”.

The printed Rhyme on this telegram [for 1935] reads:

“Love in its present tense
Is perfect in its sense
Its future only good
In a conjunctive mood
Yet now with active voice
It prays you may rejoice”.


FEBRUARY 15th
 
Roman: LUPA, The She-Wolf; JUNO. The Lupercalia, (Lempriere, Dict.) “Lupercelia … This festival, as Plutarch mentions, was first instituted by the Romans in honour of the she-wolf which suckled Romulus and Remus”.

(Ovid, Fasti, II. 413) “February 15th ... A she-wolf, which had given birth to her whelps came, wondrous to tell, to the abandoned twins ... She halted and fawned on the tender babes with her tail, and licked into shape their two bodies with her tongue ... fearless, they sucked her dugs and were fed on a supply of milk that was never meant for them. The she-wolf (lupa) gave her name to the place, and the place gave their name to the Luperci. Great is the reward the nurse has got for the milk she gave.

(Plutarch, Lives, Romulus) on the name of the Lupercalia: “it may come as well from the wolf that nursed Romulus”. As part of the ceremony the foreheads of two youths were wiped with wool dipped in milk; then the young boys must laugh after their foreheads are wiped. But, as a certain poet who wrote fabulous explanations of Roman customs in elegiac verses, says, that Romulus and Remus, after the conquest of Amulius, ran joyfully to the place where the wolf gave them suck; and that, in imitation of that, this feast was held, and . . the cleansing of them in milk, a remembrance of their food and nourishment”.

(Rose, O.C.D.) “Juno ... It was commonly alleged in antiquity that she was connected with the Lupercalia (see Wissowa)”.

(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354, and Silvius Kal. anno 448) “February 15th. Lupercalia”.

MANIA, The Manes, The Parentalia, Third Day.

PROSERPINA, PERSEPHONE. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “February 15th. The Februum, The Purification. All Departed. Pluto and Proserpine. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 15th: Hades and Persephone, Pluto and Proserpine. Wealth. Earthly success through work. Inner knowledge through the unconscious”.


FEBRUARY 16th

Roman: FAUSTINA, Diva Augusta. (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “February 16th. Natale Faustinae, uxoris Antonii”. (O.C.D.) “Faustina, Annia Galeria, called ‘the Elder’ ... She married the future Emperor Antoninus Pius circa 110 or later ... Faustina the elder became Augusta on the accession of Antoninus in 138 ... Antoninus consecrated her and named a new alimentary charity Puellae Faustinanae after her. She shared his commemoration in a temple in the Roman Forum”.

Faustina, Annia Galeria, “the Younger”, daughter of the elder Faustina, married the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. (O.C.D.) “Faustina … ‘the Younger’ ... became Augusta after her first child’s birth in 146 ... Marcus ... consecrated her and founded in her memory a second charity of Puellae Faustinianae”. Note: the entry in Silvius’ calendar for April 26 is “Natalis Antonii”; that in the calendar of Philocalus for the same date is “N.M. Antonini”.

(Montfaucon, Antiq. Suppl. p. 562) “The Apotheosis of Faustina the Younger, Wife of the Emperor M. Aurelius, is in the Capitol of Rome … she is representing rising ... veiled like a Matron, sitting not like the Emperors, upon an Eagle, but upon a Woman with large Wings, holding up a burning Torch in one hand. Bartol thinks this is a Diana Lucifera . . I rather take it for a Victory.”

MANIA; The Manes, The Parentalia, Fourth Day.


FEBRUARY 17th

Roman: FORNAX; Last day for celebrating the Fornnacalia, The Festival of Ovens. (Ovid, Fasti, II, 525) “Fronax (the Oven) becomes a goddess; delighted with her the farmers pray that she would temper the heat to the corn committed to her charge. At the present day the Prime Warden proclaims in a set form of words the time for holding the Feast of Ovens (Fornacalia), and he celebrates the rites at no fixed date; and round about the Forum hang many tablets, on which every ward has its own particular mark. The foolish part of people know not which is their own ward, but hold the feast on the last day to which it can be postponed.” (Neumann, The Great Mother, p. 285) “In Roman mythology, the oven goddess and her festival, the Fornacalia, play an important role in connection with the archaic national bread, the Far ... an old proverb says: ‘The oven is the mother’.”

MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia, Fifth Day.


FEBRUARY 18th

Persian: SPENTA ARMAITI, SPANDARMAT; Festival of Cultivators, Festival of Women. (Duchesne-Guillemin, Rel. de l‘Iran Ancien, p. 119) on Persian festivals: “Festivals of the Divinities ...

“The four most noteworthy of these festivals are … (3) that of Spandarmad (5th day of the 12th month), festival of Cultivators. (Dhabhar, 341)”.

(id. p. 122) “The festivals of the Sassanids are known to us through Mazdean and Arab texts … the 5th of Spandarmad, festival of women”.

According to Darmesteter (see under March 10th), the old Persian year ended on March 20th. Allowing for the five intercalary days, the 5th day of Spandarmad, the last month, would fall on February 18th, or on the next day in a leap year.

Roman: MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia, Sixth Day. (Ovid, Fasti. II. 533) “February 18th-21st. Honour is paid, also, to the tombs. Appease the souls ... and bring small gifts to the extinguished pyres. The ghosts ask but little: they value piety more than a costly gift; no greedy deities are they who in the world below do haunt the banks of Styx. A tile wreathed with votive garlands, a sprinkling of corn, a few grains of salt, bread soaked in wine, and some loose violets, these are offerings enough: Set these on a potsherd and leave it in the middle of the road. Not that I forbid larger offerings, but even these suffice to appease the shades: add prayers and the appropriate words at the hearths set up for the purpose ... Now do the unsubstantial souls and buried dead wander about, now doth the ghost batten upon his dole. But this only lasts until there remain as many days as there are feet in my verses (note by Frazer: ‘Eleven, as Ovid reckoned’, Am. i, 1.27-30) That day they name the Feralia”. See also under February 21st.

(Burckhardt, Civil. of Renaissance, p. 253) “The attempt has often been made to explain a number of the commonest rites of the Catholic Church as remnants of pagan ceremonies, and no one doubts that many local and popular usages, which are associated with religious festivals, are forgotten fragments of the old pre-Christian faiths of Europe. In Italy, on the contrary, we find instances in which the affiliation of the new faith on the old seems consciously recognised. So, for example, the custom of setting out food for the dead four days before the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, that is to say, on February 18th, the date of the ancient Feralia. Many other practices of this kind may then have prevailed and have since been extirpated. Perhaps the paradox is only apparent if we say that the popular faith in Italy had a solid foundation just in proportion as it was pagan”.

Roman: TACITA, MUTA, LARA. (Ovid, Fasti, II. 571) “February 18th-21st … Lo, an old woman, seated among girls, performs rites in honour of Tacita (‘the silent Goddess’) but herself is not silent. With three fingers she puts three lumps of incense under the threshold, where the little mouse has made for herself a secret path. Then she binds enchanted threads together with dark lead, and mumbles seven black beans in her mouth ... She also drops wine on it (i.e., the prepared concoction), and the wine that is left over she and her companions drink, but she gets the larger share. Then as she goes off she says, ‘We have bound fast hostile tongues and unfriendly mouths’.” Note by Frazer: “Tacita, or Dea Muta, whom Ovid identifies with the mother of the Lares. She averted evil words”.



FEBRUARY 19th

Roman: MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia. Seventh Day.


FEBRUARY 20th

Roman: MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia, Eighth Day.


FEBRUARY 21st

Sun enters Pisces (tropical).

Roman: MANIA; The Manes. The Parentalia, Last Day. The Feralia. (White, Dict.) “The Feralia. The general festival of the dead kept in February, instituted, according to Macrobius, S. 1. 12, by Numa Pompilius; by some it was considered to have lasted for one day only, which is variously stated as the 17th and 21st; by others, to have extended over a period of 11 days, from the 8th to the 18th inclusive”. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Feralia, Roman All Souls’ Day, 21st February, last of the dies parentales ... during which each household made offerings at the graves of its dead”. (Guirand and Pierre, New Larousse, p. 213) “Mania took part in the festivals of the Compitalia and the Feralia”.

(Ovid, Fasti, II. 569) “That day (i.e. February 21st) they name the Feralia, because they carry (ferunt) to the dead their dues; it is the last day for propitiating the ghosts”. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “February 21st. Feralia”.

(Lempriere, Dict.) “Feralia ... it was universally believed that the manes of their departed friends came and hovered over their graves, and feasted upon the provisions that the hand of piety and affection had procured for them”. (Evans Wentz, Fairy Faith, p. 440) “On ... the Feralia, all Romans were supposed to remain within their own homes”.


FEBRUARY 22nd

Roman: CONCORDIA; The Caristia, The Charistia, The Cara cognatio. (Ovid, Fasti, II. 617) “February 22nd. The next day received its name of Caristia from dear (cara) kins folk. A crowd of near relations comes to meet the family deities. Sweet it is, no doubt, to recall our thoughts to the living as soon as they have dwelt upon the grave and on the dear ones departed from us; sweet too, after so many departed, to look upon those of our blood who are left, and to count kin with them. Give incense to the family deities, ye virtuous ones (on that day more than all others Concord is said to lend her gentle presence); and offer food, that the Lares, in their girt up robes, may feed at the platter presented to them as a pledge of the homage that they love”.

(White, Dict.) “Charistia=(Greek) charistia (The feast of good-will or favour) ... an annual family entertainment, made three days after the Parentalia, on the 20th of February; a family banquet, at which existing family feuds were settled; Ov. F. 2. 617 sq.; Val. Max. 2.1.8” (Lempriere, Dict.) “Charistia, festivals at Rome celebrated on the 20th of February, by the distribution of mutual presents, with the intention of reconciling friends and relations”. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Caristia, a Roman family feast, otherwise cara cognatio, celebrated on 22nd February. It is mentioned under the date in the calendar of Philocalus and under February in the Menologia rustica”.

(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “February 22. Caristia”. (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “February 22nd ... Cara cognatio …” (Perp. Fest. Cal. and Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 22nd. The Charistia, for reconciliation of differences”.


FEBRUARY 26th

Egyptian: MUT, MUTH. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “February 26th. Amon. Muth. Vitality and physical healing. Honour. Loyalty and power”.


FEBRUARY 27th

Indian: MIRA BAI (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “February 27th, Mira Bai, Indian princess, mystic and poetess, c. 1500”.


FEBRUARY 29th

(Brewer, Dict.) “Leap Year … ‘The ladies propose’ ... St. Patrick, ‘having driven the frogs out of the bogs’, was walking along the shores of Lough Neagh, when he was accosted by St. Bridget … and was told that a mutiny had broken out in the nunnery over which she presided, the ladies claiming the right of ‘popping the question’. St. Patrick said he would concede them the right every seventh year, when St. Bridget threw her arms round his neck and exclaimed, ‘Arrah, Pathrick, jewel, I daurn’t go back to the girls wid such a proposal. Make it one year in four’. St. Patrick replied, ‘Bridget, acushla, squeeze me that way again, an’ I’ll give ye leap-year, the longest of the lot’. St. Bridget, upon this, popped the question to St. Patrick himself ... he patched up the difficulty as best he could with a kiss and a silk gown”.

(id.) “An Act of Parliament, passed in the year 1228, has been unearthed which runs thus: ‘Ordonit that during ye reign of her maist blessed maistie, Margaret, ilka maiden, ladee of baith high and lowe estait, shall hae libertie to speak ye man she likes. Gif he refuses to tak hir to be his wyf, he shale be mulct in the sum of ane hundrity pundes, or less, as his estait may bee, except and alwais gif he can make it appeare that he is betrothit to anither woman, then he schall be free’.”

 


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