Juno Covella - June
Goddesses of the Calendar Month:
Uatchet, the Uraeus
Yept - Hemet
Athena; Demeter and Persephone
Roman: CARDEA and CARNA. (White, Dict.) “Carna, a goddess (previously called Carne), guardian of door-hinges, i.e. of domestic life, and the life of man. Her festival was celebrated on the 1st of June by Junius Brutus”. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Cardea. The tutelary goddess of hinges, in other words, of family life, among the Romans. She was supposed to ward off all the noxious influences of evil spirits ... It is doubtful whether she is to be identified with the goddess Carna, who is said to have taken the larger organs of the body - heart, lungs, and liver - under her special protection. Carna had a shrine on the Caelian Hill, in Rome, and a festival on the 1st of June”.
(Ovid, Fasti, VI. 101) “June 1st. The first day is given to thee, Carna. She is the goddess of the hinge: by her divine; power she opens what is closed, and closes what is open”.
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June 1st Carna or Cardea, Goddess of Hinges: ‘by her divine power she opens what is closed, and closes what is open’. (Ovid). Use of symbols. Occult knowledge”.
JUNO MONETA. (Ovid, Fasti, VI. 183) “June 1st … They say, too, that the temple of Juno Moneta was founded in fulfilment of thy vow, Camillus, on the summit of the citadel”. Note: (Seyffert, Dict.) “Money derived from the goddess its designation Moneta, as it was coined in the temple of Juno Moneta”.
The Secular (Centennial) Games, First Day and Second Night. PROSERPINA, JUNO REGINA, DIANA, THE MOERAE (PARCAE), THE EILITHYIAE and TERRA MATER. (Lily Taylor, O.C.D., Secular Games) Offerings were made “On the first two days ... to Jupiter and Juno Regina”. (id.) “Each night Augustus and Agrippa made appropriate offerings ... beside the Tiber to the Moerae, the Eileithyiae, and to Terra Mater”.
(Zosimus, Hist. Nova, II V. 4) “The following day (i.e. after the first night) they mount the Capitol and ... hold processions in honour of Apollo and Artemis”. (Commentary by Paschoud) “Zosimus leaves out the offerings to the Ilithyiae performed on the night of the 1st to the 2nd of June”. (id.) “The oracle is arranged in the following manner ... v. 9-10, offerings of the second
night (to the llithyiae)”.
TEMPESTAS. (Ovid, Fasti, VI. 193) “June 1st Thou, too, O Storm (Tempestas) didst deserve a shrine, by our avowal”. (Commentary by Frazer) “Dedicated by L. Corn. Scipio., 259 (before this era)”. Note: (Cicero, De Nat. Deorum, III. 51) “the Seasons (Tempestates) ... have been deified in the national ritual of Rome”. (White, Dict.) “Tempestates … Personified: The Weather-goddess or - goddesses; the Weather”.
Graeco-Roman: HEBE. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June 1st: The Goddesses Juno and Hebe, Cup-Bearer of Olympus. Power and Pity. The Grael …”
Roman: The Secular (Centennial) Games, Second Day and Third Night. PROSERPINA, JUNO REGINA, THE MOERAE (PARCAE), THE EILTTHYIAE and TERRA MATER. (Lily Taylor, O.C.D.) See under June 1st. (Zosimus, Hist. Nova, II v. 4) “the next day (i.e. the second day), at the hour prescribed by the oracle, distinguished women assemble at the Capitol, address prayers to the deity (i.e. Juno; see below) and sing hymns in conformity with the established rite”. (Commentary by Paschoud) “The 2nd June, there is an offering to Juno Regina at the Capitol and the sequence of sacred representations, of which Zosimus says nothing, and the supplications of the matrons, which he mentions, without specifying that these prayers are addressed to Juno”. (id.) “The oracle is arranged in the following manner ... v. 1011 offering of the third night (... to Terra) ... v. 15-16, offering of the second day (... to Juno) ... v. 23-25 supplications of kneeling matrons to Juno (second day.
Roman: BELLONA. (Ovid, Fasti, VI. 199) “June 3rd … on that day Bellona is said to have been consecrated ... and ever she comes gracious to Latium. Her founder was Appius”. Note by Frazer: “Vowed by Appius Cladius Caecus in 296 (before this era)”.
Roman: The Secular (Centennial) Games, Third and last Day. PROSERPINA, DIANA, THE MOERAE (PARCAE), THE EILITHYIAE, LUCINA, TERRA MATER, CERES, LUNA, FIDES, PAX, HONOUR, VIRTUS and COPIA. (Lily Taylor, O.C.D.) “Secular Games ... on the third day they made offerings to Apollo and Diana on the Palatine ... As we know from the inscription, it was after the offerings an the third day that twenty-seven boys and twenty-seven girls ... sang Horace’s hymn, first an the Palatine and then on the Capitol”. See also under June 1st. (Paschoud, on Zosime, Hist. Nouv. Tome I. p. 76) “The 3rd June, an offering is made to Apollo and Diana”. (id. p. 77) “On the evening of the 3rd June, the religious festival properly speaking was ended ... the ludi honorari went on for several more days (cf. Nilsson ...); and perhaps it is this which Zosimus understands by ‘other ceremonies’ ”.
(Zosimus, Hist. Nova, 11. v. 5) “The third day, in the temple of Apollo standing on the Palatine, three times nine young boys of distinguished families, accompanied by an equal number of young girls ... sing hymns and paeons in Greek and Latin, thanks to which the safety of the cities under Rome is assured; other ceremonies were performed in the manner prescribed by the deity”.
(Horace, Carmen Saeculare) “O Phoebus, O Diana, Queen of forests, radiant glory of the heavens, O ye ever cherished and ever to be cherished, grant the blessings that we pray for at this holy season when the verses of the Sibyl have commanded chosen maidens and spotless youths to sing the hymn in honour of the deities who love the Seven Hills.
“O llithyia, that, according to thy office, art gracious to bring issue in due season, protect our matrons, whether thou preferrest to be invoked as ‘Lucina’ or as ‘Genitalis’, Rear up our youth, O goddess, and bless the ancestral edicts concerning wedlock … destined, we pray, to be prolific in new offspring, that the sure cycle of ten times eleven years may bring round again music and games thronged thrice by bright daylight and as often by gladsome night!
“And ye, O Fates (Parcae), truthful in your oracles, as has once been ordained, and may the unyielding order of events confirm it, link happy destinies to those already past.
“Bountiful in crops and cattle, may Mother Earth (Tellus) deck Ceres with a crown of corn …
“… do thou, O Luna, the constellations’ crescent queen to the maidens lend thine ear!
“… then do ye, O deities, make teachable our youth and grant them virtuous ways; to the aged give tranquil peace …
“… Now Faith and Peace and Honour and old-time Modesty and neglected Virtue have courage to come back, and blessed Plenty (Copia) with her full horn is seen.
“May Phoebus ... prolong the Roman power and Latium’s prosperity to cycles ever new and ages ever better! And may Diana, who holds Aventine and Algidus, heed the entreaty of the Fifteen Men and incline gracious ears to the children’s prayers! That such is the purpose of Jove and all the deities, we bear home the good and steadfast hope, we the chorus trained to sing the praises of Phoebus and Diana”.
(Zosimus, Hist. Nova, II. vii.1) “So long as these rites were duly accomplished the Empire of the Romans remained intact ... when, after Diocletian had abdicated the imperial power, the festival had been neglected, the Empire fell little by little into ruin. . While Constantine and Licinius were already for the third time consuls, the term of one hundred and ten years fell due, and it was then necessary to celebrate the festival according to established custom; but as this was neglected, it was indeed fated that the situation should reach the catastrophic state which today overwhelms us (i.e. about the year 500)”. (Commentary by Paschoud) “for Zosimus (and perhaps for Eunapius) it is the noncelebration of the Games in 314 by the emperors favourable to Christianity which marks the beginning of the misfortunes of the Empire; the same opinion is found with Aurelius Victor, Caes. 28. 2 sqq. in connection with the non-celebration of the one thousand one hundred years of Rome in 348. Mention must be made, moreover, of the verses of Claudian (28, 388-391) which make allusion to the Secular Games on the occasion of the coming to Rome of Honorius in 404”.
Note: (Soames, on Mosheim, Eccl. Hist., Vol. I. p. 419) “The pagans traced the calamities of the empire to the prevalence of Christianity. Therefore, in the year 408, at the instigation of the Tuscan soothsayers, idolatrous [rites] were again established at Rome, in order to procure success against Alaric: and the existing bishop, Innocentius, who was apprised of the measure, allowed it to take place, if we may believe Zosimus (lib. V. Cap. 41).”
(Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. Vol. II. p. 608) “Century XIII … At 134 the close of the century, Boniface XIII added to the public ceremonies of the church, the year of jubilee; which is still celebrated at Rome, with great pomp and splendid preparations”. (id. p. 703) “Clement VI., in the year 1350, in compliance with the request of the citizens of Rome, altered the, period of the year of the Jubilee, which Boniface VIII directed to be kept every hundredth year, limiting the period to fifty years”. (Commentary by Soames, id. p. 608) “Charles Chais, a recent author, whose Letters historiques et dogmatiques sur les Jubiles et les Indulgences, were published at the Hague, 1751, 3 Vols ... was minister of the French church at the Hague. The first volume of the letters is devoted to the history of the Roman jubilees, traces their origin to. . Boniface VIII (1300), points out their resemblance to the Roman secular games ...
Irish: DOMNU; ST. GOBNET; THE SHEELA-NA-GIG. (Borlase, Dolmens, Vol. III. p. 1114) “In the name of the female saint, Damhnaid, Damnata, Davnat or Dimna ... we may possibly also recognise that of Domnu, Domna, or Damna. The late Bishop Reeves called my attention to the fact that this saint was also the patroness of Gheel of Holland.
“One other place in Ireland, although not hitherto attributed to this latter divinity, was, I am inclined to think, a celebrated centre of her worship. This was Ballyvourney in Cork, where, however, she was known, not as Davnat, but as Gobnet ... The cultus of this divinity or saint is well worthy of note. The site of it is near the bank of the Sullane river. Here there is a green mound of slight elevation ‘Gobnatt’s Stone’. Windele regarded it as a pagan monument ... ‘Here’ says Windale, ‘is neither church nor cell, but the remains are as pagan in their aspect and character as can be conceived …’ The bushes on the mound were garnished with rags tied on by devotees, as is usual at sacred fountains ... Near the cairn was the Holy Well, the branches over which were covered with rags. The ritual customary for the devotees consisted in going four times round the cairn and saying seven prayers at each round. The Pattern, or festival-day of Saint Gobnatt, was June 5th. The Boccoghs, or beggars (particularly lame beggars), then assembled in great strength and exhibited a sheela (note by Borlase: ‘Sheelanagyg ... Gyg is the name in Norse for a female Iotun or Giantess’), that is to say, the image of a woman. Sheela was the patroness of women. In the drawer of the sacristy at Ballyvourney was preserved a wooden image of Gobnatt, or Abigail, as she was called. The Boccoghs, whom Windele terms ‘Irish Fakirs’, were styled at Ballyvourney ‘Gobnatt’s Clergy’. It was said that they kept the image concealed, and only exhibited it on this occasion.
“The place where the Pattern was held on Gobnatt’s Day was called Ballyvourney Ulla a word which, according to O’Reilly, means ‘a place of devotion’.” See also under February 14th.
Roman: VESTA; Opening of the Penus of the Temple of Vesta. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “June 7. Vesta aperit”. Note: (Rose, O.C.D.) “Vesta ... Curtained off from the rest of the building was the penus (Festus, 296. 12 Lindsay), which was opened for some days at the Vestalia, 9 June ... the building was cleaned then and the days were religíosi ... The penus contained various sacred objects, but as none but the Vestals might enter it, their nature was never known but widely guessed at (e.g. Livy, 26.27.14; cf. Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 2.66.3)”.
Roman: MENS. (Ovid, Fasti, VI. 241) “The mind also has its divinity. We see that a shrine was vowed to Mind (Mens) during the terror of thy war (i.e. with Carthage) ... Fear had driven out hope, when the Senate made vows to Mind (Frazer: 217 before this era), and straightway she came better disposed. The day on which the vows were paid to the goddess is separated from the coming Ides by six intermediate days”.
Roman: VESTA, The Vestalia. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Vestalia, festivals in honour of Vesta, observed at Rome on the 9th of June. Banquets were then prepared before the houses, and meat was sent to the Vestals to be offered to the gods, millstones were decked with garlands, and the asses that turned them were led round the city covered with garlands”. (Seyffert, Dict., Vesta) on the Vestalia: “The matrons of the town walked barefooted in procession to her temple, to implore the blessing of the goddess for their households, and to make offerings to her in rude dishes, in remembrance of the time when the hearth served generally for the baking of bread. The millers and bakers also kept holiday. The mills were crowned, and the asses employed in them had garlands and loaves suspended about their necks”.
(Ovid, Fasti, VI. 249) “June 9th. O Vesta, grant me thy favour! In thy service now I ope my lips, if it be lawful for me to come to thy holy rites. I was wrapt in prayer; I felt the heavenly deity and the glad ground gleamed with a purple light ... They say that Rome had forty times celebrated the Parilia when the goddess, Guardian of Fire, was received in her temple; it was the work of that peaceful king (i.e. Numa).
“Something of olden custom has come down to our time: a clean platter contains the food offered to Vesta. Lo, loaves are hung on asses decked with wreaths, and flowery garlands veil the rough millstones ... Hence the baker honours the hearth and the mistress of hearths and the she-ass that turns the millstones of pumice work comes to a stop: the mills are empty and silent.
“It chanced that at the festival of Vesta I was returning by that way which now joins the New Way to the Roman Forum. Hither I saw a matron come down barefoot: amazed I held my peace and halted. An old woman of the neighbourhood perceived me, and bidding me sit down she addressed me ... ‘This ground, where now are the forums, was once occupied by wet swamps ... Here, too, there was a grove overgrown with bulrushes and reeds, and a marsh not to be trodden with booted feet ... the ground is now dry; but the old custom survives’. The old woman thus explained the custom”. (Propertius, IV, i, 21) on the worship of Vesta in primitive Rome: “necklaced asses sufficed to make her glad”.
(Seyffert, Dict.) “Vesta ... The worship of Vesta survived to the last days of paganism (i.e. in ancient Rome)”.
(Symmachus, Letters, book II. lix) “Symmachus to his brother Flavian (the year 393) But now because of the festival of Vesta, I am going back …” Note by Callu: “The day specially dedicated to Vesta was the 9th June”. According to Gibbon (Decline and Fall, Vol. IV. p. 66) “Symmachus, who was invested with all the civil and sacerdotal honours, represented the Emperor under the two characters of Pontifex Maximus, and Princeps Senatus.”
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 345) “June 9. Vestalia.”
(Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June 9th: Vesta. Controlled Fire. Chastity. Dedication. Priesthood. Spiritual Light”.
Scottish: MARGARET, Queen of Scotland. (Irish Catholic Dir.) “June 10 ... S. Margaret …” (Cassell’s New Biog. Dict.) “Margaret, Saint (born circa 1047) …”
Greek: INO, LEUCOTHEA. See under Matuta.
TYCHE. See under Fortuna.
Roman: CONCORDIA. (Ovid, Fasti, VI. 637) “June 11th …To thee, too, Concordia, Livia dedicated a magnificent shrine, which she presented to her dear husband”.
FORTUNA, FORS. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Fortuna or Fors ... in full, Fors Fortuna ... an Italian
goddess identified in classical times with Tyche ... her ancient temple in the Forum Boarium at Rome … had the same dedication-day as that of Mater Matuta ... viz. 11th June. These facts suggest a deity potent for the fruits of the earth and the life of women”.
(Ovid, Fasti, VI. 569) “June 11th ... The same day, Fortune, is thine, and the same founder and the same place (Frazer: ‘King Servius Tullius dedicated a temple to Fortune and one to Matuta on the same day and place’).”
MATUTA, MATER MATUTA; The Matralia. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Matuta (usually Mater Matuta). An old Italian goddess of dawn and of birth, also goddess of harbours and of the sea, and hence identified with the Greek Leucothea. In her temple at Rome in the Forum Boarium, on the 11th of June, the Matralia, or festival of mothers, was celebrated in her honour by the women of Rome ... a matron who had not been married before was allowed to place a wreath on the statue of the goddess. The women first prayed for the well-being of their nephews and nieces, and then for that of their own children. This custom was referred to the myth of Ino-Leucothea, who tended Dionysus,, the son of her sister Semele. (Lempriere, Dict.) “Matralia, a festival at Rome, in honour of Matuta or Ino ... They make offerings of flowers and carried their relations’ children in their arms, recommending them to the care and patronage of the goddess whom they worshipped”. (Rose, O.C.D.) “Matuta, Mater, a Roman goddess of growth ... Her festival, the Matralia, 11th June, is included in the ‘Calendar of Numa’. The ritual was conducted by women … it seems probable that they prayed for pueri sororii, i.e. adolescent children”.
(Ovid, Fasti, VI, 475) “June 11th ... Go, good mothers (the Matralia is your festival), and offer to the Theban goddess the yellow cakes that are her due ... on this day, it is said, Servius dedicated with his own sceptered hands a temple to Mater Matuta”. (Plutarch, Lives, Camillus) “Camillus ... made vows unto the deities that he would ... dedicate a temple to the goddess whom the Romans call Matuta, the Mother, though, from the ceremonies which are used, one would think she was Leucothea”.
(Varro, Ling. Lat. V. 106) on the derivation of words: “Testuacium ‘pot-cake’, because it was baked in a heated earthen testu ‘pot’, as even now the matrons do this at the Matralia”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “June 11. Matralia”.
Roman: MINERVA; The Lesser Quinquatrus, First Day. (Seyffert, Dict.) “Quinquatrus On June 13th the minor Quinquatrus took place. The festival lasted three days. It was celebrated by the guild of flute-players, an important and numerous body at Rome. They honoured the goddess as their special patroness by meeting at her temple, by masked processions through the city and by a banquet in the temple of Jupiter of the Capitol”.
(Ovid, Fasti, VI. 651) “June 13th … And now I am bidden to tell of the Lesser Quinquatrus. Now favour my undertaking, thou yellow-haired Minerva. ‘Why does the flute-player march at large through the whole city? What mean the masks? What means the long gown?’ So did I speak, and thus did Tritonia (Frazer: ‘Athena’) answer me, when she had laid aside her spear - would that I could report the very words of the learned goddess! ‘In the times of your ancestors of yore the flute-player was much employed and was always held in great honour. The flute played in temples, it played at games, it played at mournful funerals. The labour was sweetened by its reward; but a time followed which of a sudden broke the practice of the pleasing art ... The flute-players went into exile from the city and retired to Tibur’. “Plautius, then devised a plan for their return.” ‘In order to deceive the Senate as to their persons and their numbers, Plautius (Frazer: ‘Censor, 312’ [before this era] commanded that their faces should be covered with masks; and he mingled others with them and ordered them to wear long garments, to the end that women flute-players might be added to the band. In that way the return of the exiles could be best concealed ... The plan was approved, and now they are allowed to wear their new garb on the Ides and to sing merry words to the old tunes.’
“When she had thus instructed me, ‘It only remains for me to learn’, said I, ‘why that day is called Quinquatrus’. ‘A festival of mine’, quoth she, ‘is celebrated under that name in the month of March, and among my inventions is also the guild of flute-players. I was the first by piercing boxwood with holes wide apart, to produce the music of the long flute. The sound was pleasing ... I am the inventress and foundress of this music; that is why the profession keep my days holy’.”
MNEMOSYNE; THE MUSES. Nativity of the Muses. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “June 13. N. Musarum …” (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “June 13. Natalis Musarum”. The Muses, according to Hesiod (Theogony, 53), are daughters of Mnemosyne (Memory), wife of Zeus, and are nine in number. Their names and attributes are (Seyffert, Dict.) “(1) Calliope (she of the fair voice), epic song ... (2) Clio (she that extols), history ... (3) Euterpe (she that gladdens), lyric songl ... (4), Thalia (she that flourishes), comedy ... (5) Melpomene (she that sings), tragedy ... (6) Terpsichore (she that rejoices in the, dance), dancing ... (7) Erato (the lovely one), erotic poetry … (8) Polymnia or Polyhymnia (she that is rich in hymns), sacred songs ... (9) Urania (the heavenly), astronomy …”
Tibetan: All Souls’ Day. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “June 13th. All Souls’ Day in Tibet”.
Roman: MINERVA; The Lesser Quinquatrus, Second Day.
General: (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “June 14th ... Day of Meditation on the Salvation of all Beings”.
Roman: MINERVA; The Lesser Quinquatrus, Last Day.
VESTA, Closing of the Penus of the Temple of Vesta. (Ovid, Fasti, VI. 713) “June 15 … It is the day on which thou, O Tiber, dost send the sweepings of Vesta’s temple down the Etruscan water to the sea.” (Note by Frazer) “Swept out yearly on this day.” (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “June 15. Vesta clud …” See also under June 7th.
Greek: EURYDICE. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June 17th: Orpheus; and Eurydice. Married Love through all levels Faith., Loyalty.”
Roman: ANNA. (Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “June 18. Annae sacrum.”
Note: Among the Annas mentioned by Lempriere (Dict.) are Anna, sister of Dido (Elissa); Anna Perenna (see under March 15th); and Anna “an old industrious woman of Borillae, who when the Roman populace had fled from the city to Mount Sacer, brought them cakes every day; for which kind treatment the Romans, when peace was re-established, decreed immortal honors to her …”
Summer Solstice. Sun enters Cancer (tropical).
Celtic: Alban Hefin. See under March 21st.
General: THE WITCHES; Lesser Sabbat. See under March 21st.
ORAEA. (Perp. Fest. Cal.) “June 21st. Oraea, Goddess of Summer ... Greek New Year’s Day. (Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June 21st: Oraea, Goddess of Summer ... joy and Abundance. Fertility”.
ALL HERAS. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Rosea 9th (June 21st) Day of All Heras”. (The Coming Age, No. 15) “Day of All Heras. A hera is one who in the course of an earthly life has reached that single goal, achieving full communion with the Mother of All Things ... A hera is often the guardian of a Temple, community or village …”.
Irish: MARY THERESE COLLINS. Born June 21st, 1913. She presides over the healing shrine at Caheragh, West Cork.
British: THE GREAT MOTHER. (Marian Green, A Harvest of Festivals, p. 78) on the modern Druid Summer Solstice festival at Stonehenge: “Stonehenge, that mysterious ancient construction of sarsen stones, linked together for aeons like a circle of Greek dancers, alone in the middle of a desolate and uninhabited plain, is the setting for the modern Druids’ solstice ceremonies. “The words are spoken, perhaps a prayer or invocation to the Great Mother ... Water is also blessed in the name of the Great Mother so that the link between Earth and Mankind may also be renewed and strengthened”.
CERRIDWEN. (Farrar, What Witches Do, p. 97) on the seasonal festivals: “June 22nd Summer Solstice ... “The cauldron, filled with water and decorated with flowers, is placed before the altar. The High Priestess casts the Circle, and then stands in front of the cauldron with wand raised ...
“… The High Priestess, still carrying her wand, picks up a sprinkler which she has placed ready on the altar, and stands by the cauldron. She says:
“ ‘Dance ye about the Cauldron of Cerridwen, the Goddess, and be ye blessed with the touch of this consecrated water …’
“Cakes and wine are followed by ‘dances, rites and games as the High Priestess shall direct’. If the meeting is out of doors, there may also be a bonfire in the Circle”.
Babylonian: ISHTAR; Rites of Ishtar and Tammuz.
Syrian and Graeco-Roman: ASTARTE, APHRODITE and VENUS; Rites of Astarte, Aphrodite, Venus and Adonis. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 343) “In Sardinia the gardens of Adonis are still planted in connection with the Great Midsummer festival which bears the name of St. John. At the end of March or on the first of April, a young man of the village presents himself to a girl, and asks her to be his comare (gossip or sweetheart) ... At the end of May the girl makes a pot of the bark of the cork-trees, fills it with earth, and sows a handful of wheat and barley in it. The pot being placed in the sun and often watered, the corn sprouts rapidly and has a good head by Midsummer Eve ... The pot is then called Erme or Nennere. On St. John’s Day the young man and the girl, dressed in their best, accompanied by a long retinue and preceded by children gambolling and frolicking, move in procession to a church outside the village ... they sit down in a ring on the grass and eat eggs and herbs to the music of flutes. Wine is mixed in a cup and passed round, each drinking as it passes …This is the general Sardinian custom. As practised at Ozieri it has some special features ... on the Eve of St. John the window-sills are draped with rich clothes, on which the pots are placed, adorned with crimson and blue silk and ribbons of various colours. On each of the pots they used formerly to place a statuette or cloth doll dressed as a woman, or a Priapus-like figure made of paste ... The correspondence of these Sardinian pots of grain to the gardens of Adonis seems complete ...
“Customs of the same sort are observed at the same season in Sicily. Pairs of boys and girls become gossips ... on St. John’s Day, by drawing each a hair from his or her head and performing various ceremonies over them. Thus they tie the hairs together and throw them up in the air, or exchange them over a potsherd, which they afterwards break in two, preserving each a fragment with pious care. The tie formed in the latter way is supposed to last for life ...
“… We have seen that the rites of Tammuz or Adonis were commonly celebrated about midsummer; according to Jerome, their date was June”. Note: The Babylonian and present Jewish month Tammuz is in June/July; see under Moveable Calendar.”
European: The Midsummer Fires. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 622) “The Midsummer Fires - But the season at which these fire-festivals have been most generally held all over Europe is the summer solstice, that is Midsummer Eve (the twenty-third of June) or Midsummer Day (the twenty-fourth of June) ... we cannot doubt that the celebrations dates from a time long before the beginning of our era. Whatever their origin, they have prevailed all over this quarter of the globe, from Ireland on the West to Russia on the East, and from Norway and Sweden on the North to Spain and Greece on the South. According to a mediaeval writer, the three great features of the Midsummer celebration were the bonfires, the procession with torches round the fields, and the custom of rolling a wheel ... and he explains the custom of trundling a wheel to mean that the sun, having now reached the highest point in the ecliptic, begins thenceforward to descend”.
North African: Midsummer Festival. (Frazer, id. p. 631) “The custom of kindling bonfires on Midsummer Day or on Midsummer Eve is widely spread among Mohammedan peoples of North Africa, particularly in Morocco and Algeria …
“The celebration of the midsummer festival by Mohammedan peoples is particularly remarkable, because the Mohammedan Calendar, being purely lunar and uncorrected by intercalation, necessarily takes no note of festivals which occupy fixed points in the solar year ... This fact of itself seems to prove that among the Mohammedan peoples of Northern Africa, as among the Christian peoples of Europe, the Midsummer festival is quite independent of the religion which the people publicly profess, and is the relic of a far older paganism”.
Irish: AINE. (Evans Wentz, Fairy-Faith, p. 79) “To my friend, Count John de Salis, of Balliol College, I am indebted for the following legendary material …
“The Fairy Goddesses, Aine and Fennel (or Finnen) -‘There are two hills near Lough Gur upon whose summits. . sacred rites used to be celebrated according to living tradition. One, about three miles south-west of the lake, is called Knock Aine, Aine or Ane being the name of the ancient Irish goddess, derived from an, “bright” … The peasantry of the region call Aine one of the Good People (i.e. Sidhe)’...
“Some say that Aine’s true dwelling-place is her hill, upon which on every St. John’s Night the peasantry used to gather from all the immediate neighbourhood to view the moon (for Aine seems to have been a moon goddess, like Diana), and then with torches (cliars) made of bunches of straw or hay tied on poles used to march in procession from the hill and afterwards run through cultivated fields and amongst the cattle. The underlying purpose of this latter ceremony was - as is the case in the Isle of Man and in Brittany, where corresponding fire-ceremonies surviving from an ancient agricultural cult are still celebrated - to exorcise the land from all evil spirits ... in order that there may be good harvests and rich increase of flocks. Sometimes on such occasions the goddess herself has been seen leading the sacred procession ... One night some girls staying on the hill late were made to look through a magic ring by Aine, and lo the hill was crowded with the folk of the fairy goddess who before had been invisible. The peasants always said that Aine is ‘the besthearted woman that ever lived’. cf. David Fitzgerald, Popular, Tales of Ireland, in Rev. Celt., iv. 185-192)”.
(Rolleston, Myths, Legends of Celtic Race, p. 128) “Another topical goddess was Ainé, the patroness of Munster, who is still venerated by the people ... She is in some sort a love-goddess, continually inspiring mortals with passion ... She was, and perhaps still is, worshipped on Midsummer Eve by the peasantry ... On one night, as told by Mr. D. Fitzgerald ('Popular Tales of Ireland’, in Rev. Celt., vol. iv), who has collected the local traditions about her, the ceremony was omitted owing to the death of one of the neighbours. Yet the peasantry at night saw the torches in greater number than ever circling the hill, and Ainé, herself in front, directing and ordering the procession.
“ ‘On another St. John’s Night a number of girls had stayed late on the Hill watching the cliars (torches) and joining in the games. Suddenly Ainé, appeared among them, thanked them for the honour they had done her ... calling some of the girls, she made them look through a ring, when behold the hill appeared crowded with people before invisible.’
“ ‘Here’, observed Mr. Alfred Nutt, ‘we have the antique ritual carried out on a spot hallowed to one of the antique powers, watched over and shared in by those powers themselves. Nowhere save in Gaeldom could be found such a pregnant illustration of the identity of the fairy class with the venerable powers to ensure whose goodwill rites ... have been performed for countless ages (“The Voyage of Bran”, vol. ii. p. 219)’.”
Portuguese (Borlase, Dolmens, Vol. II. p. 694) “In Portugal Saint John’s Eve is the occasion for boisterous mirth ... The spirits of the dead are supposed to be abroad, and to be wandering about their ancient haunts. Every year, says Signor Joaquin Costa, were celebrated with great solemnity the rites connected with the summer solstice. The ceremonies which were supposed to point to purification by fire were still kept up, the fires being lighted on the tops of the mountains”.
Cornish: THE LADY OF THE FLOWERS, THE EARTH MOTHER, THE GREAT GODDESS. (Marian Green, A Harvest of Festivals, p. 139) “It is 23 June, and people of the Helston area are flocking to Manhay Farm in the old parish of Wendron, where as darkness falls a great bonfire will be kindled. This will be but one in a chain of beacons throughout the 80-odd miles of the Cornish peninsula, a living strand of fire stretching from Chapel Carn Brea near Land’s End, to Kit Hill near the Devon border.
“The Midsummer Eve Bonfire celebrations were revived in 1929 by the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, which has been responsible for the rescue and maintenance of many of Cornwall’s lapsed customs ...
“... the prayer for the Benediction of the Bonfire [is] spoken first in English, the current language of the ‘new’ faith, then in Cornish (however modified by a lapse of nearly 200 years and its subsequent revival) of the old Celtic Sun-worshippers ... The pagan theme is underlined by the next participant, the Lady of the Flowers. Whether young, middle-aged or elderly, whether costumed or in ordinary clothes, she is obviously representative of the Earth Mother, the Great Goddess who shared with the deities of Sun and Moon and Sea, the homage of the ancient peoples. Bearing her beribboned sheaf of flowers and herbs, she steps forward to the unlit stack … The M.C. bids her cast the flowers on to the stack, and again the instruction is repeated in Cornish.
“Once the sacrificial bouquet has been tossed on to its woody altar, the long-awaited moment of kindling is at hand. This symbolic act is usually performed by a local dignitary; in the present case it might well be the Mayor or Mayoress of Helston. Other beacons will be lit by the Chairman of a Parish Council, or perhaps a well-known businessman or professional person of the particular locality”.
Egyptian: NEITH and ISIS. (Perp. Fest. Cal. and Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June 24th ... Egyptian Festival of the Burning of the Lamps at Sais”. (Herodotus, Hist. Euterpe, (11). 59) “The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in; the course of the year ... There is a third great festival in Sais to Athena (i.e. Neith)”.
(Esther Harding, Woman’s Myst. p. 130) “A feast of lamps was also celebrated at Sais in Egypt in honor of Isis-Neit. The ceremony took place in an under-chapel beneath the temple. Lamps were carried in procession around the coffin of Osiris, for it was by the power of light, symbolizing the life-giving power of the Moon, that Isis could rekindle life in the dead Osiris”. Note: (Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, 376 A) on Egyptian beliefs: “for they often times call Isis by the name of Athena (i.e. Neith), which expresses some such meaning as ‘I come from Myself’ ”. (Manetho cited by Eusebius, Fr. 83) “The Egyptians say that Isis ... is the Moon (Selene)”.
Babylonian: ISHTAR; Rites of Ishtar and Tammuz. Syrian and Graeco-Roman: ASTARTE, APHRODITE and VENUS; Rites of Astarte, Aphrodite, Venus and Adonis. See under June 23rd.
Roman: FORS FORTUNA. (Varro, Ling. Lat. VI. 17) “The day of Fors Fortuna (Kent: ‘Chance Luck, on June 24th) was named by King Servius Tullius, because he dedicated a fane to Fors Fortuna beside the Tiber, outside the city of Rome, in the month of June”.
(Ovid, Fasti, VI. 771) “June 24th. Time slips away, and we grow old with the silent lapse of years; there is no bridle that can curb the flying days. How quickly has come round the festival of Fors Fortuna! Yet seven days and June will be over. Come, Quirites, celebrate with joy the goddess Fors! On Tiber’s bank she has her royal foundations. Speed some of you on foot, and some in the swift boat, and think no shame to return tipsy from your ramble. Ye flower-crowned skiffs, bear bands of youthful revellers, and let them quaff deep draughts of wine on the bosom of the stream. The common folk worship this goddess because the founder of her temple is said to have been of their number and to have gained the crown from humble rank (i.e. Servius Tullius)”.
(Philocalus, Kal. anno 354) “June 24. Fortis Fortunae. Solstitium.”
VESTA. (Soames, on Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. Vol. II. p. 52) “The feast of St. John, and the dancing round a tree set up, were usages, as well of the German and Northern nations, as of the Roman. The former had their Noodfyr, (on which Joh. Reiske published a book, Frankfurt, 1696. 8vo.) and the latter used, about this time (the 24th of June,) to keep the feast of Vesta, with kindling a new fire, amid dances and other sports. Schl”.
European and North African: The Midsummer Fires. See under June 23rd. (Perp. Fest. Cal. and Fell. of Isis Dir.) “June. 24th. Druidic Festival of Fire”.
Scandinavian: THE MIDSUMMER BRIDE. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 131) “in Sweden the ceremonies associated elsewhere with May Day or Whitsuntide commonly take place at Midsummer. Accordingly we find that in some parts of the Swedish province of Blekinge they still choose a Midsummer Bride to whom the ‘church coronet’ is occasionally lent. The girl selects for herself a Bridegroom and a collection is made for the pair, who for the time being are looked on as man and wife. The other youths also choose each his bride. A similar ceremony seems to be still kept up in Norway”.
General: THE MOTHER’S FESTIVAL. (Lux Madriana Cal.) “Rosea 12 (June 24th). Rosa Mundi. Rose of the World”. (The Coming Age, No. 15) “Rosa Mundi. On this joyous summer festival, we celebrate the Rose of the World, the Heart of Creation, the Consuming Fire. It is supremely the Mother’s festival, and is the time that we meditate most deeply upon our relationship to Her. She is the Maker and Shaper of each, individual soul in its pure and perfect form. We are born from Her joy, and only in Her are we whole ...
“It is the custom at the Rosa Mundi rite for the handmaid to give everyone a rose to hold during the contemplation, that they may meditate upon the inner meaning of the manifest flower. The altar is decked with roses and candles”.
Note: (Helena Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine, Vol. V. p. 292) “The Rose ... the grandest, the noblest of Nature’s symbols. To the Rosicrucian the ‘Rose’ was the symbol of Nature, of the ever prolific and virgin Earth, of Isis, the mother and nourisher of man, considered as feminine and represented as a virgin woman by the Egyptian initiates”. See also under May 23rd: Flora.
Roman: AESTAS, Summer, Goddess of Summer. (Silvius, Kal. anno 448) “June 27. Initium aestatis.”
(Ovid, Metam. II. 24) on the Deities ranged around the Sun: “here Summer (Aestas) stood naked and adorned with Garlands made of the Ears of Corn.” See also under December 25th: Hiems.
The Láres. (Ovid, Fasti, . VI. 791) “June 27th. Next morn … the Lares were, given a shrine where many a wreath is twined by deft hands”.
Graeco-Roman and Syrian: THE NYMPHS. (Libanius, Oration xvii. 22) on the death of Julian (June 27th, 363): “And while he lay slain, we at Daphne were worshipping the Nymphs with choric dance and other delights, ignorant of the disaster.”
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