Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February! (feb-ROO-ary, not feb-YOU-ary)

Happy February!

Named for Februus. Sabine or Etruscan in origin, this deity is said to have been both ruler of the underworld and God of Purification. Makes sense when you think about it. The Romans liked him so much, they named a month for him. We're almost at the halfway point of winter. Time to start cleaning for Spring, aka Spring Cleaning! It's also a time for weather divination. I've always love the following poem for "groundhog day" because it explains why there are 6 more weeks of winter if the groundhog sees it's shadow: "If the day dawns fair and bright, Winter still has one more fight. If the day dawns dark and gray, winter's fight has gone it's way." I'm rooting for craptastic weather on Wednesday morning ;)

In the meantime, here are a few favorite cleansing techniques I use. They're very basic, but sometimes we need a reminder:

Magickal shower: After washing, take some time to let the water rush down and imagine any negativity washing down the drain. Slowly turn counter-clockwise if it helps you to get into the spirit. Romans used to end a bath by plunging into cold water. I don't recommend doing that before bed lol

House cleansing: Seriously, get the dirt and dust out. You don't need a fancy powder or wash, first you need to work on the mundane level. If you're still up for it, use basic florida water. I like to mix it with a homemade tincture of Rue.

Burn your preferred cleansing or smudging herbs, like sage or frankincense. Once you've covered the whole house, open the windows and picture the smoke carrying out the old and letting in the new. If it's cold in your clime, don't leave the windows open too long! When those scents are gone, fill your home with your favorite smell, be it roses, lemons, fresh baked cookies, or your favorite childhood meal.

Here is a wonderful quote regarding this month:
"The conception of the Virgin Mary is represented on the same day (the 2nd of February) as that of the miraculous conception of Juno by the ancient Romans. This, says the author of the Perennial Calendar, is a remarkable coincidence. [...] It is also a remarkable coincidence that the Romans should have had their Prosipernalia, or Feast of Candles or Candlemass in February [...] Thus we see that the Roman Catholics have been in the habit of celebrating Christian festivals upon days which were held sacred by the heathens." W. Winwoode Read, The Veil of Isis; or, The Mysteries of the Druids, 1861, 5.I.

I find it interesting that this is the only reference to it being the Prosipernalia. There is another reference to reenacting Ceres looking for her Daughter through the night using candles to search the dark, but I can't find the exact source right now. Where was she taken? Even the Greeks say it was in Sicily. Who is the Goddess of Sicily? Proserpina. The timing doesn't jive with her abduction, but the timing is perfect to anticipate her return and to start looking for her. Haven't you already seen signs? Today it was sunny here and I could smell Spring in the air. Proserpina is returning, and this search is a joyous one– not fraught with worry, but filled with hope.

My family celebrated the impending return of Spring Herself by burning old candles , making recipes which needed time to cure, spring cleaning and stocking up and preparing the votive candles used daily. We didn't call it Prosipernalia, but we did raise a glass and light a candle to The Goddess of Sicily.

Was Februus an earlier or Sabine version of Pluto? He was alleged to be ruler of the underworld. If so, veneration of Proserpina fits perfectly here.

Here's hoping for an early return of Spring!

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