Amore e pianto, vivono accanto

Festa di Lupercus ~ Valentine’s Day

The Festival of Lupercus marks the puberty of our Lord, Lupercus. The Grigori have set “twelve labours” before the young Wolf God that he must master to prove his worth as the new Sun God. Lupercus proves his worth by completing the tasks. Lupercus is invoked at this time of year to scatter the wolves of the dark winter night. Assisting us in releasing the atavistic power within us all. Through him, we are free of the constraints of our bodies, and of the winter season.

Lupercalia is a Roman ritual of purification and fertility dating from such an ancient time that even the Romans of the first century BCE had forgotten its origin and to which Gods it was dedicated and even the meaning of some of its symbolism. (Contrary to Z Budapest’s statements, it was not known whether it was to Faunus and in fact I think it may have been sacred to the more ancient founding Goddess, Rumina, the She-Wolf of Rome.) Central to the ritual is the lustration (light flogging) with a goat skin scourge (see, Gardner didn’t invent it). This was often accompanied by much rowdiness and horse-play. The purpose was the purification of the people from curses, bad luck and infertility. The ritual is performed on February 15. The name of the month comes from the februa, anything used in purifying including wool (used for cleaning), brooms, pine boughs (which make the air sweet and pure), etc.

The rite began in the cave of the She-Wolf in the city of Rome where legend had it that the founders of the city, Romulus and Remus, had been suckled by the wolf before they were found by a shepherd. The sacred fig tree grew in front of the cave. Vestals brought to the site of the sacrifice the sacred cakes made from the first ears of the last years grain harvest. Two naked young men presided over the sacrifice of a goat. With the bloody knife, their foreheads were smeared with blood, then wiped clean with wool dipped in milk. The young men laughed and girded themselves in the skin of the sacrificed goat. Much feasting followed. Finally, using strips of the goat skin, the young men ran, each leading a group of priests, around the base of the hills of Rome, around the ancient sacred boundary of the old city called the pomarium. During this run, the women of the city would vie for the opportunity to be scourged by the young men as they ran by, some baring their flesh to get the best results of the fertility blessing (you can see why the Christian church tried so hard to get this ritual banned, but it was so popular that it continued for quite some time under the new regime.)

Happy Valentine’s Day (and Happy Howling :))


4 responses

  1. The Myth of Lupercus

    There came a time upon the land of People, the Time of Great Sorrow, the Time of the Wolf. For Dianus, Lord of the Sun, had journeyed a great distance away and all withered in His absence. So the Grigori of the Four Winds went forth to seek Him out, they they might bid Him to return.

    Now it came to pass that the Grigori were brought forth before the throne of Dis, the Dark Lord of the Shadows. And they spoke saying, “Do we find You here in this Realm of Shadowed Life?” “Yes”, Dianus replied, “now you truly have seen My two faces.” Then the Grigori pleaded with Dianus to return revealing the sorrow which He had left behind in the world. But He declined saying, ” The Gods of the Mists, who are greater am powerless to change that which must come to pass”.

    But Diana had overheard Them speaking and She took the Grigori aside in secret. “You must take my son Lupercus, who shall be born of Dianus, that He might give light back to the world.” So when the time came the Grigori took the newborn God and began Their journey from the Realm of Shadows. Now as They journeyed they spoke of how to prove the worthiness of this new God to the People of the World. So They decided to test Him with twelve labors. And these were the twelve labors of Lupercus:

    1. To carry the sacred ram, and set him under the stars.

    2. To purify the hide of the sacred white bull.

    3. To tame the twin serpents of Teramo.

    4. To carry of the Great Sea Crab to the Western horizon.

    5. To free the sacred lion.

    6. To fashion a bow for the Goddess Diana.

    7. To forge the Great Scales of Justice for the Gods.

    8. To seal the giant Scorpion back within the Earth.

    9. To make a golden arrow for the King of the Centaurs.

    10. To fashion two golden horns for the Great Goat Fish.

    11. To purify the jugs of water which are borne to the Gods.

    12. To leash the two Great Fish of the Sea and set them amongst the stars.

    Bravely did the young God complete the tasks given to Him. Then was He received by the People of the World in all His brilliant splendor. Now because of the absence of the Sun, in His time there were many wolves who nightly attacked the herds and flocks, and the people were in despair. So Lupercus descended from Aster and dwelt among the wolves, and having transformed Himself into a powerful golden wolf He became their King. Before Him all the wolves would flee into the woods and hills at His anger. Then the people rejoiced crying “Great is Lupercus, Lord of the Sun, King of the Wolves, banisher of the Dark Wolf Night.”

    So each day Lupercus would rise up and journey across the heavens, bearing His fennel torch. As He went, Lupercus would gather the souls of those who had died during His absence in the sky, and deliver them unto His Father Dianus in the Great Hidden Realm, which lay beyond the western waters. Here they were given refreshments and were prepared for a new life, then Grigori would escort them to the realm of the Goddess in Luna to wait rebirth. Each night Lupercus rested in the Hidden Realm, to again make His journey across the world of mortals.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

  2. Fen

    Can anyone cite the source of this information? Thanks.

    August 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm

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