February 8, 2016
Some people LOVE Valentines Day, others just go through the motions, and some avoid it all together. I personally enjoy Valentines Day. Not for going out to dinner, chocolates, or flowers (even though I am not apposed to that! FYI, I LOVE roses in purple); but for its original meaning. Have you every thought of how we came to enjoy V Day? Well I find its history quite sensual and can help to bring more sensuality to the holiday today.
Well let’s take our minds back… I mean WAY back to the time of the Romans. There was a festival celebrated on February 15, Lupercalia. This festival celebrated “sexual license” which honored Lupercus the god of fertility and husbandry (care of, cultivation, and breeding of crops and animals), protector of crops and livestock. Lupercus was also a mighty hunter most specifically of wolves.
So the celebration would go something like this. The Luperci male priests, would be assisted by Vestal Virgins (priestesses of Vesta, goddesses of the hearth, vital to security of Rome and cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out), and conduct purification rites by sacrificing goats and a dog in the Lupercal cave on Palatine Hill. Covered in loincloths made from the same sacrificed goats, the Luperci would run through Rome and “strike” women with februa (notice how close this is the word February? Well February derives from the work februa, or “means of purification”) thongs made from the skins of the same goats.
These “striking’s” or “floggings” where not to inflict harm, pain, or even dominance. It’s believed that the floggings where to purify women and guarantee their fertility and ease in childbirth. So this was a ritual for the benefit of women and the people as a whole.
The Romans also worshiped Juno Februata, the goddess of febris (“fever”) or love, women, and marriage (Romans really dig the ladies). They celebrated Juno on February 14 by placing small pieces of paper or “billets” with the name of a teen girl on it. These billets were put into a container and a teen boy would pick a piece of paper at random (remind you of the 70’s and car keys doesn’t it!). The young boy and girl whose name was drawn would then become a couple for the erotic games at feasts and parties during the festival. They were not done just yet. After the festival they would remain sexual partners for the rest of the year.
Now what happened between then and now… well quite a bit. From 494 A.D all the way to 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius and other priests changed the date, name, and meaning around in February several times. The church at the time was really trying to get rid as best they could old gods and celebrations. So at the end of 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius finalized this decision to February 14th and assigned St Valentine as the saint for that day. To try and further change the celebration from sex, fertility, and such the festivities were celebrated by placing names of saints on the billets. These billets were drawn by both girls and boys to emulate the life of the saint that they had drawn. As much as the church tried to make the focus on saints young men would still keep the focus on the ladies. Young men would send handwritten romantic messages containing St Valentines name on it to the young lady of their choice (the birth of the Valentines Day card).
Now these cards were elaborate. By the late 18th century the cards were painted with pictures of cupid, hearts, and decorated with lace and such. Now one last little bit of fun facts… Lupercus was known as Pan, the god of light. Lingam is “Wand of Light” which is another word for penis.
In the end, the month of February for me at least is a month of cleansing, purification, fertility, and the creation of a new cycle.
As always I hope I have inspired you to connect with your sensuality…